Andrew Phillip King, a man who breached a quarantine order last December with the explanation that the Prime Minister had given him permission to leave, was fined $1,000 on Tuesday. He was allowed one week to pay the fine with an alternative of six months in prison.
Magistrate Zoila Ellis-Browne handed down the penalty after King was found guilty, following a short trial at the Calliaqua Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
King, said to be born in England, had given his age as 53 and his residence as Biabou. He was charged with breaching an order by Medical Officer of Health Dr. Roger Duncan, requiring him to quarantine himself from others. The charge was laid under Section 27(a) of the Public Health Act.
Persons entering the country are required to quarantine for 14 days, of which ten are to be done at an approved facility.
King, who had arrived here from Canada on December 28, chose to go to Paradise Inn at Villa.
The Prosecution’s evidence revealed that he paid US$160 for two nights, on December 29, but went to the receptionist and indicated that he would not be staying for the second day, as he was given permission to leave,. He requested a refund.
According to the evidence, he was refunded US$40 and he drove himself away in a rental vehicle.
The authorities at the hotel became suspicious, contacted the COVID-19 Task Force, and the matter was reported to the police.
During investigations, the police went to Mangoes Restaurant and Bar at Villa where they met King.
When cautioned, he told the police that the Prime Minister gave him permission to go home.
King was taken to the isolation facility at Argyle where he did the remaining days, and on his discharge, he was taken into custody and formally charged.
The Court heard evidence from a number of witnesses including Dr. Duncan, the investigator Corporal 191 David, and the manager of Paradise Inn Hotel.
King was unrepresented and opted not to give evidence from the stand.
He is one of several persons who have received penalties for the offence since the Public Health Act was amended last year to respond to the prevailing COVID-19 crisis. Of those who have been charge for breaching the quarantine protocol, only one has been acquitted.