Singapore: Man awarded $20k in damages over unlawful arrest has to pay $28k in legal costs overall

SINGAPORE – A man who was awarded $20,000 in damages by the High Court, after he sued the police for wrongly arresting him, will have to pay more than $28,000 in legal costs to the defendants.

In January, Mr Mah Kiat Seng, 48, succeeded in his claim relating to one officer, Mr Mohamed Rosli Mohamed, for unlawful apprehension. But he failed in a second claim that another officer, Mr Lawrence Tan Thiam Chin, had assaulted him while in custody.

On Friday, the court awarded legal costs of $19,320 to Mr Mah, and $48,000 to the Attorney-General (AG), which represented the Singapore Police Force.

Justice Philip Jeyaretnam said: “In my view, Mah is entitled to the costs of his successful claim against Rosli but must pay costs for his unsuccessful claim against Tan.”

As for other claims against the police that were not directed at specific officers, the judge said that overall, the police was successful in its defence and entitled to costs. Generally, the losing party in a civil case has to pay for the winning party’s legal costs.

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