First-time offender fined $2k for lighting sparklers

Elvis Xavier Fernandez bought a bundle of whistling fire sparklers and lit them at a housing estate. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
Elvis Xavier Fernandez bought a bundle of whistling fire sparklers and lit them at a housing estate. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

He bought a bundle of whistling fire sparklers and lit them at a Housing Board estate near Upper Aljunied Road, alarming residents nearby.

The flame from the sparklers shot up and reached a height of about two storeys, according to a resident who witnessed the incident and called the police.

Yesterday, Elvis Xavier Fernandez, 26, was fined $2,000 for setting off a dangerous firework as defined under the Dangerous Fireworks Act.

On Nov 6 last year, a resident of a third-storey unit at Block 18 Joo Seng Road heard sounds of sparklers. He saw sparks when he looked out of the window.

The sparks continued for about a minute, making very loud sounds, the court heard. At about 10.30pm, the resident's mother called the police, reporting "big fireworks" that seemed "very dangerous".

Following police investigations, it was found that Fernandez had bought a bundle of six whistling fire sparklers comprising six cylindrical tubes.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ben Mathias Tan urged the court to sentence Fernandez to a fine of between $2,000 and $3,000.

 
 
 

In consideration of Fernandez's age and his being a first-time offender, District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim sentenced him to a minimum mandatory fine of $2,000.

Last November, six men, including Fernandez, were charged with setting off illegal fireworks in separate incidents. The police had reminded the public then that it is an offence to possess, sell, transport, send, deliver, distribute or import any dangerous fireworks.

"The police have zero tolerance for acts that endanger the lives or safety of others, as well as cause undue alarm to the public, and will not hesitate to take action against those who blatantly disregard the law," a police spokesman said.

The Government banned fireworks in 1972, following public safety concerns.

Charmaine Ng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 13, 2019, with the headline 'First-time offender fined $2k for lighting sparklers'. Print Edition | Subscribe