SINGAPORE: Twelve people were charged in court on Friday (Oct 2) with breaching safe distancing measures during a day out on Lazarus Island in August.
The five women and seven men were each given one charge of breaching a COVID-19 regulation by taking part in a social gathering with more than four other people who were not from their household.
They allegedly went to the island between 11am and 6pm on Aug 8 and violated prevailing prohibitions on social gatherings.
The accused persons are: British nationals Jeff Richard Alexander, 31; Zoe Louise Cronk, 30; Joshua Adam Roth, 31; Lowri Mair Jeffs, 31; Edward John Joseph Lee-Bull, 32; William Edwin Dunford, 32; James Riby Oram Trimming, 30; Richard Henri Lagesse, 31; Helen Ann Sullivan, 30, and Paul Jonathon Gold, 32; Vietnamese national Luong Thi Thu Ha, 31, and 29-year-old Singaporean Natalie Joanna Sarkies.
They were charged in pairs on Friday, and were all represented, with three lawyers turning up to defend various accused persons.
Gold's lawyer said his client wanted to plead guilty, and a date was fixed for him to do so later this month.
Luong's lawyer objected to the bail sum asked for by the prosecutor, saying that his client has been a permanent resident for 11 years and has roots in Singapore.
The lawyer for the remaining accused persons tried unsuccessfully to ask for no bail to be imposed for his clients, but the prosecutor said bail had previously been given for a similar summons case, where people were charged over gatherings at Robertson Quay.
The judge ruled for personal bonds of S$2,000 to be offered to each accused person.
The Singapore Land Authority, which filed the charges, said in a previous statement that the Government "takes a serious view against violation of safe distancing measures".
Those convicted of breaching a COVID-19 regulation can be jailed up to six months, fined up to S$10,000, or both. The penalties may be doubled for repeat offenders.
Social gatherings of up to five people are allowed in Phase 2 of Singapore's reopening, which started on Jun 19.
Individuals should maintain a safe distance of at least 1m at all times. Where not feasible or practical, the 1m requirement can instead be enforced between groups of not more than five people.