Gan Soo Swee and Another v Ramoo

Judgment Date07 November 1968
Date07 November 1968
Docket NumberCivil Appeal No Y24 of 1968
CourtFederal Court (Singapore)
Gan Soo Swee and another

[1968] SGFC 15

Wee Chong Jin CJ


Tan Ah Tah FJ


F A Chua J

Civil Appeal No Y24 of 1968

Federal Court

Tort–Negligence–Motor vehicles–Defective traffic lights at traffic junction–Whether driver knew or ought to known lights defective–Whether driver entering junction with lights in his favour required to provide for possibility of other traffic entering junction in disobedience of lights

The plaintiff was a passenger in a taxi driven by the second defendant. The taxi collided, at a road junction controlled by traffic lights, with a motor lorry driven by the first defendant. The plaintiff suffered injuries and sued both defendants for negligence. There was evidence that the lights were not functioning properly and at one stage simultaneously showed green. The trial judge found that both defendants had been aware the traffic lights were defective and were guilty of negligence in failing to keep a proper lookout. The defendants appealed.

Held, allowing the appeal:

(1) It did not follow that because the lights were defective the defendants knew they were defective. On the evidence, it was not possible to say that the defendants knew or ought to have known, if they had kept a proper lookout, that the lights were defective: at [15], [16], [18], [19] and [20].

(2) The driver of a motor vehicle entering a cross-roads junction when the lights are green in his favour is entitled to assume that the traffic approaching the junction from his left or right would obey the red signal light prohibiting such traffic from entering the junction. He is under no duty towards traffic entering the junction in disobedience to the red light to assume or to provide for the possibility of such entry. The trial judge therefore erred in finding that the defendants were negligent in failing to keep a proper lookout when they both entered the cross-roads junction with the light in their favour: at [17] and [20].

Joseph Eva Ltd v Reeves [1938] 2 KB 393 (folld)

K E Hilborne (Hilborne & Co) for the first appellant

Yap Tyou Min (Battenberg & Talma) for the second appellant

H E Cashin (Murphy & Dunbar) for the respondent.

Wee Chong Jin CJ

(delivering the judgment of the court):

1 On the morning of 10 July 1966 a Sunday, the plaintiff was a passenger in a taxi driven by the second defendant which was proceeding in a southerly direction along Dunearn Road, a one-way carriageway. At the same time the first defendant was driving a motor lorry laden with sand in a westerly direction along Whitley Road which was a dual carriageway. The two vehicles collided with each other in the middle of the junction of these two roads and as a result of the collision the plaintiff suffered a severe injury, namely a compound fracture dislocation of the left elbow joint. That junction is a controlled junction, controlled by traffic lights operating automatically.

2 The plaintiff commenced an action in the High Court of Singapore naming the driver of the motor lorry as the first defendant and the driver of the taxi in which he was travelling as the second defendant alleging that the collision was caused by the negligence of the first defendant and by the negligence of the second defendant or alternatively, by the negligence of one or other of them in the driving of their respective motor vehicles.

3 The particulars of negligence alleged against the lorry driver, the first defendant, in the statement of claim were as follows:

(a) failing to keep any or any proper lookout;


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2 cases
  • Re Nalpon Zero Geraldo Mario
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 7 May 2012
    ... ... For example, in ... Gan Soo ... Swee and another v Ramoo ... [1968–1970] SLR(R) 324, a civil case, Wee ... ...
  • Ngui Kee Siong v Guan Soo Swee and Another
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 17 July 1970
    ... The plaintiff in this action alleges negligence on the part of the first and second defendants as did the plaintiff in Suit No 1219 of 1967 (Ramoo v Ong Ah Ho & Anor [1968] 2 MLJ 66 ) against the same defendants in relation to the same accident whilst the plaintiff in this suit was a passenger in the back seat on the nearside of the same taxi which was being driven by the present first defendant along Dunearn Road in a southerly ... ...

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