Coronavirus: US pilot sentenced to 4 weeks' jail for breaching stay order to go to Chinatown Point

American pilot Brian Dugan Yeargan had ignored a stay order, leaving his room at the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport hotel on April 5. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - An American commercial pilot who breached a stay order in early April was sentenced to four weeks' jail on Wednesday (May 13).

Brian Dugan Yeargan, 44, who pleaded guilty to an offence under the Infectious Diseases (Covid-19 - Stay Orders) Regulations 2020, arrived in Singapore from Australia on April 3.

He was then issued with a 30-day short-term visit pass.

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) had said in an earlier statement that Yeargan was also served with a stay order and was not allowed to go out in public until April 17.

Ignoring the stay order, he left his room at the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport hotel around 11.15am on April 5.

An ICA employee and officers from the home visit team conducted a check about 15 minutes later and found that Yeargan was not there.

Deputy Public Prosecutor V Jesudevan told Senior District Judge Ong Hian Sun that Yeargan walked for about 15 minutes to Changi Airport MRT station before taking a train to City Hall station.

The DPP added: "When he alighted at City Hall station, he estimated that there were about 1,000 people in the station. After alighting, the accused walked for about 30 minutes to get to Chinatown Point."

After that, he bought a thermometer and a few boxes of face masks at four stores in the shopping mall.

Yeargan was walking to a nearby MRT station to take a train back to the hotel at around 1.40pm, when he received a call from his employer, delivery services company FedEx.

He was told that he has not supposed to leave his room and he had to return to the hotel immediately.

The court heard that Yeargan then took a taxi and reached the hotel at around 2.15pm.

On Wednesday, DPP Jesudevan urged the court to sentence him to at least six to eight weeks' jail.

The DPP said that Yeargan's purpose to head out to buy the items was "unreasonable" and added: "These items could have been sourced either after this (stay order) had expired or at the airport, closer to the hotel, or through other means including seeking the assistance of a local FedEx representative."

Defence lawyer Ronnie Tan told Judge Ong that his client had been worried about the well-being of his wife back home. The lawyer also said that Yeargan had made an "error of judgement".

Offenders convicted of the offence can be jailed for up to six months and fined up to $10,000.

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