'Sovereign' woman case adjourned to end of Jan

Lawyer for 41-year-old who claimed law did not apply to her says he will expedite matter

Paramjeet Kaur was charged with offences including failure to wear a mask over her nose and mouth when visiting a food stall in Upper Thomson Road last April amid the coronavirus outbreak. ST FILE PHOTO
Paramjeet Kaur was charged with offences including failure to wear a mask over her nose and mouth when visiting a food stall in Upper Thomson Road last April amid the coronavirus outbreak.ST FILE PHOTO

The counsel for a woman who claimed the law did not apply to her when told to wear a mask in public amid the coronavirus outbreak has asked for the case to be adjourned to a later date.

Lawyer Anil Singh Sandhu told District Judge Adam Nakhoda yesterday that he will be expediting the matter, adding that he has arranged to meet his 41-year-old client, Paramjeet Kaur, this Friday to obtain her position on the matter.

Kaur's case has been adjourned to Jan 26.

The Singaporean woman made headlines last May after a video clip circulated online in which she claimed to be a "sovereign" during a heated argument when confronted by passers-by at Shunfu Mart near Upper Thomson Road.

"It means I have nothing to do with the police, it means I have no contract with the police. They have no say over me," she is heard saying in the video.

A man, who is off screen, responds: "This doesn't even make any sense. If you're a person in Singapore, you have to follow the rules of Singapore."

But Kaur is heard replying: "That's the thing - I'm not a person, I'm 'we the people'."

She was arrested on May 4 last year and appeared in court the next day.

She was later charged with offences including failure to wear a mask over her nose and mouth when visiting a food stall in Upper Thomson Road at around 9.20pm on April 30 last year.

Chinese-language evening paper Lianhe Wanbao had earlier quoted a woman, who identified herself as Kaur's mother, as saying that her daughter was a physiotherapist who lived in Australia for 20 years before returning to Singapore in 2019.

Last May, Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said in a Facebook post that he had tried to find out what Kaur might have meant by claiming to be "sovereign".

He said then: "There is a movement in the United States, and adherents to that movement, (broadly speaking) reject government, reject the police and any kind of authority...

"Such people should not live within society - she should not expect any of the benefits that come from this system of governance, including her security, medical care, other benefits."

For failing to wear a mask over the nose and mouth, a first-time offender 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.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 06, 2021, with the headline ''Sovereign' woman case adjourned to end of Jan'. Print Edition | Subscribe