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2 get new charges for breaching COVID-19 measures at Clarke Quay area on New Year's Eve; to plead guilty

2 get new charges for breaching COVID-19 measures at Clarke Quay area on New Year's Eve; to plead guilty

(From left) Harjaz Singh, William Alexander Brooks-Potts, Verma Pulkit and Kotra Venkata Sai Rohankrishna at the State Courts on Jan 25, 2022. (Photos: CNA/Marcus Ramos)

SINGAPORE: Two of four men accused of breaching COVID-19 regulations by gathering to celebrate the New Year in the Clarke Quay area received an extra charge on Tuesday (Feb 8).

Verma Pulkit and Harjaz Singh were each given one new charge of attending a gathering without reasonable excuse at the stroke of midnight on Jan 1, 2022, outside Riverside Point.

Verma allegedly gathered with eight other people, while Singh is accused of mingling with at least six others.

Both of them now face three charges each. The other two charges are for failing to wear a mask over their mouths and noses near the Read Bridge, and for failing to keep a 1m distance from several other people.

The court heard on Tuesday that both men intend to plead guilty. They were given a date to do so on Mar 8.

Videos of large crowds outside Riverside Point on Dec 31 had gone viral online, prompting the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force to call it "a potential superspreading event"

Other than Verma and Singh, two other people face similar charges over the same New Year's Eve celebrations. 

Kotra Venkata Sai Rohankrishna also intends to plead guilty, his lawyer said, but representations will first be made on his behalf before that juncture.

Kotra was previously handed three charges. He is accused of failing to wear a mask over his nose and mouth near Read Bridge at Clarke Quay.

Court documents state that Kotra was dressed in a Spider-Man costume during the time and allegedly interacted with about 20 people. This included the recording of videos and photos, according to the charge sheet.
 
He is also accused of failing to keep a distance of at least 1m from several other people there.

The fourth man, William Alexander Brooks-Potts, was previously charged with failing to wear a mask and failing to keep a 1m distance from other people.

When the judge asked what his intention was, whether to plead guilty or claim trial, his lawyer from Withers KhattarWong said they had not taken instructions on this.

Kotra and Brooks-Potts are to return to court next month, with Brooks-Potts to indicate at the next hearing whether he intends to plead guilty or not.

If convicted of breaking COVID-19 regulations, the men could be jailed for up to six months, fined up to S$10,000, or both per charge.

Source: CNA/ll(gs)
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