Jailed for Rubber Stamping

In Leong Sow Hon v. Public Prosecutor [2020] SGHC 228, the High Court clarified that accredited checkers owe personal and non-delegable duties under the Building Control Act. The accredited checker is supposed to provide an independent check of not merely high-level plans, but also specific design calculations. While the accredited checker can be assisted by technical support staff, it does not shift the accredited checker’s personal responsibility.

Further, the fact that others may also be responsible for preventing or remedying errors is immaterial in the context of criminal responsibility. The determination of the accredited checker’s culpability will depend on the nature of the breach and negligence, as opposed to intentionally violating the Building Control Act, may not merit a lighter punishment.

An useful article providing an in-depth commentary on Leong Sow Hon v. Public Prosecutor can be found at: https://journalsonline.academypublishing.org.sg/Journals/SAL-Practitioner/Construction-and-infrastructure/ctl/eFirstSALPDFJournalView/mid/591/ArticleId/1559/Citation/JournalsOnlinePDF

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