SINGAPORE — The last four of the 12 people who went to Lazarus Island during Phase 2 of Singapore’s reopening were each fined $3,000 on Wednesday (24 February).
The four Britons are: Edward John Joseph Lee-Bull, 33, James Riby Oram Trimming, 31, Helen Ann Sullivan, 31, and Joshua Adam Roth, 31. Each of them had pleaded guilty to meeting with more than four other individuals for a purpose that was not permitted.
In Singapore’s Phase 2 reopening, which was in effect from 19 June to 27 December last year, only social gatherings of up to five persons were allowed.
On 8 August, at around 11am, the group took the ferry from mainland Singapore to St John’s Island and walked to the beach along Lazarus Island. They engaged in leisure activities together, and took a ferry back to mainland Singapore at around 6pm.
One of the group members, Natalie Joanna Sarkies, later posted a photo of the gathering on social media. The photo made rounds on other platforms, triggering public outcry.
Eight others have been dealt with after they pleaded guilty to a similar charge. These are: Sarkies, 29; Paul Jonathan Gold, 32; Zoe Louise Cronk, 30; Jeff Richard Alexander, 32; Lowri Mair Jeffs, 31; Richard Henri Lagesse, 31; William Edwin Dunford, 32, and Luong Thi Thu Ha, 31. They were also fined $3,000 each.
Apart from Luong, who is Vietnamese and a Singapore permanent resident, Sarkies is a Singaporean, while the remaining 10 are British nationals.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Timotheus Koh pointed out that the each of the other eight co-accused were fined $3,000.
He said that the fine ought to "reflect the severity of their actions and to deter like-minded offenders who place their interest over public health".
Mohd Shafiuddin Ong and Russell Thio - the lawyers acting for Lee-Bull, Sullivan and Roth - said that their three clients were remorseful and highlighted that the fines issued for breaches during the circuit breaker period and Phase 2 of Singapore's reopening should be different.
In response, DPP Koh said that the point had previously been made in the hearings for the other co-accused and had already been rejected. There should be no difference in the treatment of cases during and after the circuit breaker as the regulations were to guard against an outbreak of COVID-19, said DPP Koh.
District Judge Ong Luan Tze agreed with the prosecution on this point and said she found the proposed fine a fair sentence.
Mitigating in person, Trimming said, "I would like to express my regret and remorse for my actions, thank you."
Each could have been jailed up to six months and/or fined up to $10,000 for his charge.
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