Singapore

Woman seeks court approval for appeal over damages for dog's death

After her dog was killed in an accident, a woman sued the car driver seeking damages for the death of her four-year-old Tibetan mastiff.

Ms Helen Debra Walker, who had spent $8,000 to import her dog Maximus from Hong Kong, was awarded $2,430 by a district judge in February.

The sum was based on the market value of the dog, taking into account a "depreciation discount".

Ms Walker wanted to file an appeal, but under court procedure, she had to first file an application in the State Courts for leave, or permission, to do that.

She missed the filing deadline by two days as she was grieving over the death of her husband a few days before the court decision.

Her lawyer then sought more time to file the leave application, but was told by the State Courts to file the request for a time extension to the High Court instead.

The High Court, however, in a judgment on Monday, said Ms Walker's lawyer was correct in initially filing her time extension application in the lower court.

PRECEDENT

The State Courts, in rejecting her initial application, had relied on a precedent involving a defendant who sought an extension of time to file an appeal.

But Justice Choo Han Teck said the precedent did not concern an extension of time for leave to appeal, and was "inapplicable to the present situation".

Justice Choo ordered the proceedings to be transferred back to the lower court to decide on Ms Walker's requests for a time extension and for permission to file the appeal.

On March 14, 2018, Ms Walker's two domestic workers were walking the family's two dogs when they were hit by a car driven by Ms Soh Poh Geok.

One helper's claim has been settled and the other helper's claim is ongoing.

The other dog, a labrador retriever named Ruby, owned by Ms Walker's husband, was hurt in the accident. The couple sued over Maximus' death and Ruby's injuries, but the appeal relating to Ruby can proceed only after probate has been granted in respect of the husband's estate. - THE STRAITS TIMES

COURT & CRIME