SINGAPORE – The Supreme Court has rejected a woman’s claim that her older brother used her dogs’ case as an excuse to make it “unbearable” for her to live in the house their mother wanted.
In the latest chapter in a long-running dispute over the house at 61 Kovan Road, Ms. Rosaline Goh sued her brother Lian Chyu, 79, and his family to recover $71,083.
The amount was the rent she incurred when she lived elsewhere in 2017 and 2018.
Ms Goh, 66, claimed that she had to renew a lease on a balcony house in Leith Park because she was prevented from exercising her right to live in the Covan house.
Ms. Goh, the ninth of 10 children, claimed that her attempts to return to the family home were prevented by Mr. Goh, who lived there with his wife.
She also alleged that Mr Goh, his wife and their three children conspired to injure her during a confrontation at home in June 2018.
In a ruling issued on Tuesday (June 29), Judicial Commissioner Philip Giartnam rejected all of Ms Goh’s allegations.
The judge said Goh expressed his concerns about his sister’s two dogs but did not deny her personal right to live in the home.
“Brother and sister simply disagreed on the extent to which her dogs should run the house, and what actions she should take about them,” he said.
The judge said Mr Goh had real concerns about the dogs – Labrador and golden retriever – being allowed into the living areas of the house and Goh was late cleaning up after her pets.
In particular, Labradors, who have since died, left puddles of saliva wherever they went.
The judge said Goh’s actions were often “restrictive and proportionate.” By contrast, Ms. Goh “didn’t do much” to address her brother’s concerns.
The siblings’ mother, Mrs. Lu Jike Huai, had bequeathed the house to her 10 children and one eldest grandson before her death in 2002.
However, the property became a source of conflict between the siblings.
Between 2005 and 2019, at least five court decisions were made, including denying Ms Goh’s application for the exclusive use of home study.
In 2017, Ms Goh wanted to go home but said her brother and wife insisted she couldn’t do so if she intended to take her dogs with her.
In 2018, she again tried to move in with her dogs.
Her brother’s family was there when she arrived. She said his children recorded her on their cell phones and obstructed her.
She finally moved home in July 2019 with her dogs, then filed her current lawsuit.
The judge said the siblings’ mother “wants nothing more than for all her children to live in harmony.”
“I can only express the hope that the perishing days of the siblings, when 61 kovans under their mother’s leadership resonate with laughter and glee, may find some echo in their silver years.”