SINGAPORE, Nov 27 — Six people, who were part of a 12-person gathering at Lazarus Island in August, were fined S$3,000 each yesterday for breaking the Covid-19 group limit of five.
They include 29-year-old Singaporean Natalie Joanna Sarkies, who posted photographs of the group gathering on Instagram. The photos were later reposted on various platforms.
The five others who were fined are British nationals:
William Edwin Dunford, 32
Richard Henri Lagesse, 31
Zoe Louise Cronk, 30
Jeff Richard Alexander, 31
Lowri Mair Jeffs, 31
All six pleaded guilty to one count each of breaching the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulation 2020, which bans gatherings of more than five people outside their home or for non-work purposes.
They were all aware of this requirement, which is still in force today, the court heard.It is not known if they will be allowed to continue working in Singapore.
Another Briton who met them — Paul Jonathon Gold, 32 — was similarly fined S$3,000 last month. His lawyer said then that his stay in Singapore was “about to come to an end.”.
The other five have been charged and their cases are pending:
Joshua Adam Roth, 31, British national
Edward John Joseph Lee-Bull, 32, British national
James Riby Oram Trimming, 30, British national
Helen Ann Sullivan, 30, British national
Luong Thi Thu Ha, 31, Vietnamese
The court heard that the group took a ferry from mainland Singapore to St John’s Island on August 8 about 11am.
They then walked to the beach along Lazarus Island, which has a land connection to St John’s Island, and engaged in various leisure activities together, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Timotheus Koh said.
At 6pm, they took a ferry back to mainland Singapore.
DPP Koh sought the fines imposed, noting that the photos showed it was a planned outing and that they either had their face masks pulled down or were not wearing masks.
“Their conduct belittles the tremendous efforts and sacrifices of the vast majority, who have, among many things, given up the pleasures of social interaction with family and friends for the public good to contain the spread of Covid-19.
“The courts should firmly denounce such behaviour and send a strong message that we need to continue to be vigilant and comply with measures, even as they are cautiously eased, to prevent a ‘second wave’ of community spread,” he said.
Defence lawyer Shafiuddin Ong from Emerald Law — who represented Sarkies, Lagesse and Cronk — said in mitigation that his clients “have realised the folly of their conduct.”
His clients personally addressed the court and apologised, with Sarkies saying: “I take full responsibility for the actions that I have done and I would like to express my deep regret and remorse, especially during these tough times.”
While Ong sought a lower fine of S$2,500 (RM7,611), District Judge Ronald Gwee said that parity was an issue as Gold was previously sentenced to a S$3,000 fine.
For breaching a Covid-19 regulation, they could have been jailed up to six months or fined up to S$10,000, or both. — TODAY