Singapore woman who flouted Covid-19 measures during circuit breaker gets 10 weeks' jail

Letchimi pleaded guilty to three charges under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures Act). ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - A woman was sentenced to 10 weeks' jail on Thursday (Feb 3) for leaving her home several times during the circuit breaker in 2020 to drink alcohol and socialise with friends who did not live with her.

Letchimi, 37, a Singaporean who goes by only one name, pleaded guilty to three charges under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures Act). Seven charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kenneth Kee said in court documents that various enforcement officers had come across Letchimi from April 5 to May 21, 2020, on six occasions when she breached safe distancing measures.

Singapore's circuit breaker restrictions, which significantly reduced movements and interactions in public and private places to bring infection numbers down, were in place from April 7 to June 1. Before 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," said DPP Kee.

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 to drink and chat. 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.

On May 21, after receiving a call around 11.30pm, police officers found Letchimi, Ravindran and another person not living with her at an area between two blocks of flats in Ang Mo Kio. They were chatting and drinking alcohol.

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

He said that unlike Ravindran, Letchimi had deliberately protracted the proceedings against her unnecessarily by about 1½ years.

Both Ravindran and Letchimi were charged in June 2020.

DPP Kee said: "The accused's conduct thus far belies any purported claim of genuine remorse and no mitigating weight should be attributed to her belated plea of guilt."

Letchimi, who is pregnant and due to give birth on April 11, was present in court on Thursday.

Her sentence will be deferred to Feb 8 after two scheduled medical appointments.

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