Briton who was part of 12-person gathering on island fined $3,000

Paul Jonathon Gold has been dismissed from his job at real estate investment firm Jones Lang LaSalle, said his lawyer Anil Singh. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID
Paul Jonathon Gold has been dismissed from his job at real estate investment firm Jones Lang LaSalle, said his lawyer Anil Singh. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

Briton Paul Jonathon Gold was fined $3,000 yesterday for flouting safe distancing measures and taking part in an unlawful gathering on Lazarus Island amid the Covid-19 pandemic on Aug 8.

The 32-year-old was part of a 12-person gathering on the island that violated Covid-19 regulations that prohibit social gatherings of more than five people who do not stay in the same place of residence.

He was fined $3,000, with six days' jail in default if he did not pay.

Gold and the other 11 people at the gathering were charged on Oct 2 for an offence under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act.

The others are: Natalie Joanna Sarkies, 29; Helen Ann Sullivan, 30; Zoe Louise Cronk, 30; Jeff Richard Alexander, 31; Joshua Adam Roth, 31; Lowri Mair Jeffs, 31; James Riby Oram Trimming, 31; Richard Henri Lagesse, 31; Luong Thi Thu Ha, 31; William Edwin Dunford, 32; and Edward John Joseph Lee-Bull, 32.

All of them are British except for Sarkies, who is a Singaporean, and Ha, who is Vietnamese and has been a Singapore permanent resident for 11 years.

The court heard that the group had taken a ferry from mainland Singapore to St John's Island at around 11am on Aug 8.

They then walked to the beach at Lazarus Island, where they engaged in various leisure activities.

The group then took a ferry from St John's Island back to mainland Singapore at around 6pm the same day. Gold was spotted in a photograph posted by Sarkies on Instagram.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Timotheus Koh said: "The accused knew, but did not care, that he was breaking the law.

"His conduct belittles the tremendous efforts and sacrifices of the vast majority who have, amongst 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 court should take this opportunity to send a clear deterrent message that we must continue to remain vigilant, and that retribution against offenders during this time of crisis will be swift and certain," the DPP added.

In his mitigation plea, defence lawyer Anil Singh asked for leniency, as Gold has since been dismissed from his job at real estate investment firm Jones Lang LaSalle and will likely "not be able to re-enter Singapore again".

Checks on Gold's employment pass status on the Ministry of Manpower website showed that it was cancelled on Sept 21.

The cases involving the remaining 11 people will be heard on Oct 23. If found guilty, first-time offenders can be jailed for up to six months and fined up to $10,000.

Repeat offenders can be jailed for up to a year and fined up to $20,000.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2020, with the headline Briton who was part of 12-person gathering on island fined $3,000. Subscribe