Prosecution seeks 6 to 8 weeks' jail for man who allegedly breached stay-home notice to deliver newspapers

Palanivelu Ramasamy is accused of leaving his Towner Road flat on March 30 before going to Goldhill Plaza. ST PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW, SCREENGRAB FROM GOOGLEMAPS

SINGAPORE - The prosecution is seeking a jail term of between six and eight weeks for a man who allegedly breached his stay-home notice (SHN) to deliver newspapers.

Palanivelu Ramasamy, who appeared in court on Thursday (April 16), is accused of leaving his Towner Road flat on March 30 before going to Goldhill Plaza near Thomson Road.

The 48-year-old registered news vendor with Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) was one of two Singaporeans charged last week with breaching their SHN in separate incidents amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Palanivelu is facing a charge under the Infectious Diseases (Covid-19 Stay Orders) Regulations 2020.

The other man - Alan Tham Xiang Sheng, 34 - has pleaded guilty to an offence under the Infectious Diseases Act.

Tham, who left his home on March 23 to eat bak kut teh, is the first to be convicted for breaching an SHN. He will be sentenced on April 23.

On Thursday, Mr Navin Kumar, a manager with SPH's circulation department, told the court that the company will be engaging a lawyer for Palanivelu.

No plea was taken and the case was adjourned to April 22, with Palanivelu's bail set at $5,000.

In a joint statement released earlier, the Ministry of Health and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said Palanivelu had arrived in Singapore from India on March 21 after spending about a month there.

He was served with an SHN and was not supposed to leave his home for 14 days.

According to the statement, he was not there when ICA officers visited his flat during an enforcement check on March 30.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, SPH said that it is aware of the case against Palanivelu.

Its spokesman added: "Mr Palanivelu has been a newspaper vendor with SPH since 1985, and has been faithfully serving our subscribers throughout these years. We are rendering him and his family the necessary assistance to help them through this difficult period.

"Since the implementation of Dorscon Orange and circuit breaker measures, we have constantly reminded our news vendor network of the need to comply with the prevailing regulations, even though this may result in later deliveries to our subscribers.

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"We have also provided them with the necessary protective equipment like masks and gloves for them to carry out their jobs safely."

For breaching an SHN, an offender can be jailed for up to six months and fined up to $10,000.

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