• Saturday, June 25, 2022

ASIA

Singaporean-Indian woman jailed for breaking Covid rules

Representational Image: iStock

By: Shubham Ghosh

AN Indian-origin woman in Singapore was sentenced to 10 weeks’ jail for exiting her home several times to drink alcohol and socialise with friends when the city-state’s administration imposed a safety measure (circuit breaker) against coronavirus in 2020.

Letchimi, a 37-year-old woman who goes by one name, pleaded guilty on Thursday (3) to three charges under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures Act). According to a report by The Straits Times, seven charges were taken into consideration at the time of delivering the verdict on her.

Deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Kenneth Kee said in court documents that various enforcement officers had come across Letchimi between April 5 and May 21, 2020, on six occasions when she breached safe-distancing measures.

Singapore’s circuit breaker restrictions that significantly reduced movements and interactions in public and private places to bring the number of infections down were in place between April 7 and June 1. Prior to that, gatherings of more than 10 outside of work and school had been prohibited since late March 2020.

“Notwithstanding a verbal reminder to the accused on each occasion to refrain from such impermissible acts in the future, the accused paid no heed to the warning and persisted in reoffending,” Kee was quoted as saying.

At least one of the co-accused persons, a man named Ravindran Marimuthu, has been dealt with. He was jailed for eight weeks.

On April 27, Letchimi met five people in Ang Mo Kio housing estate to drink and chat. When some individuals in the group passed lewd remarks at a female passer-by who called the police, Letchimi was found loitering at the void deck of a block of flats with the five people who do not live with her, including Ravindran.

On May 13, a man called the police and said his neighbour was drinking at the common corridor and blocking the path. Police officers later found Letchimi outside a unit with three others who were not living with her, including Ravindran. Investigations revealed that the trio had gone to Letchimi’s unit to eat, drink alcohol and chat.

Again on May 21, after receiving a call around 11.30 pm local time, police officers found Letchimi, Ravindran and another person not living with her at an area between two blocks of apartments/flats in Ang Mo Kio. They were found chatting and drinking on that occasion too.

In his written submissions for sentencing, Kee asked for a sentence of at least 12 weeks’ jail.

He said unlike Ravindran, Letchimi deliberately protracted the proceedings against her unnecessarily by about one-and-half years.

Letchimi, who is pregnant and due to give birth on April 11, was present in court on Thursday. Her sentence will be deferred to February 8 after two scheduled medical appointments.

(With PTI inputs)

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