SINGAPORE – The last four members of a 12-person group who spent a day on Lazarus Island last year in breach of Covid-19 rules were fined $3,000 each on Wednesday (Feb 24).
British nationals Helen Ann Sullivan, 31; Joshua Adam Roth, 31; James Riby Oram Trimming, 31; and Edward John Joseph Lee-Bull, 33, pleaded guilty to a charge of meeting others for a non-permitted purpose and without reasonable excuse under the Covid-19 regulations.
The other eight people were earlier fined $3,000 each. They are William Edwin Dunford, 32; Richard Henri Lagesse, 31; Lowri Mair Jeffs, 31; Zoe Louise Cronk, 30; Jeff Richard Alexander, 32; Luong Thi Thu Ha, 31; Natalie Joanna Sarkies, 29 and Paul Jonathon Gold, 32.
All of them are British except for Sarkies, who is Singaporean, and Ha, who is Vietnamese.
Their trip took place during phase two of Singapore’s reopening, when only groups of up to five people were allowed to meet outside their homes for social purposes.
The court heard that at about 11am on Aug 8 last year, the group took a ferry to St John’s Island, before walking to the beach at Lazarus Island. They spent the day there before taking a ferry back to mainland Singapore at about 6pm.
Lazarus Island is located south of the Singapore mainland and a man-made causeway connects it to St John’s Island.
Sarkies posted photos of the trip on Instagram and the trip was reported on various media platforms.
Sullivan, Roth and Lee-Bull were represented by lawyer Shafiuddin Ong who originally represented Trimming as well, but he was discharged.
Trimming represented himself and expressed remorse for his actions.
Mr Ong said his clients were sorry for their actions and “with the benefit of hindsight, realise the severity of their actions”.
He asked that the fines be reduced from the sentences in cases cited by prosecution which occurred during the circuit breaker period, since the gathering happened during phase two of Singapore’s reopening.
However, deputy public prosecutor Timotheus Koh reiterated that there should be no difference in the sentencing of offences committed during and after the circuit breaker as the regulations still serve the common purpose of “guard(ing) against outbreak of Covid-19”.
District Judge Ong Luan Tze agreed with the prosecution and added that it was “fair and appropriate” for the four accused to receive the same sentence as the previous eight.
For breaching a Covid-19 regulation, they could have been jailed for up to six months, fined up to $10,000 or both.