Seven charged for breaching safe distancing measures at Robertson Quay

Clockwise from top left: Neil Gordon Buchan, Joseph William Poynter, James Titus Beatt, Bao Nguyen Brown, Jeffrey George Brown, Michael Czerny and Perry Scott Blair. (PHOTOS: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — Six men and one woman were charged in court on Tuesday (2 June) for breaching COVID-19 safe distancing measures at Robertson Quay on 16 May.

The six men are Neil Gordon Buchan, Perry Scott Blair, Jeffrey George Brown, Michael Czerny, James Titus Beatt and Joseph William Poynter, while the woman is Bao Nguyen Brown and is married to Jeffrey George. They are aged between 30 and 52.

All were charged for meeting individuals outside of their residence to chat and have drinks, contravening the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020. 

Jeffrey George, Czerny and Bao Nguyen, all share the same lawyer, Mirza Namazie. Lawyers Shashi Nathan and Jaya Y represented Buchan and Beatt, while lawyer Christopher Bridges represented Poynter and Blair.

Shashi told Yahoo News Singapore that he was appointed last week, and will be sending in representations to “calibrate the sentences” for his clients.

All will return to court on 16 June. A bail of $3,000 was offered to each. If convicted of their offences, each will be jailed up to six months and/or fined up to $10,000.

Michael Czerny walking into the State Courts on 2 June. (PHOTOS: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

Michael Czerny

Czerny, a 45-year-old Austrian citizen and Singapore permanent resident, is charged with one count of meeting Jeffrey George and Bao Nguyen, individuals not living in the same residence, without reasonable excuse, on 16 May between two 6.08pm and 6.40pm in the vicinity of TAP @ Robertson Quay to chat and have drinks. Namazie told the court that he has two children studying in Singapore.

Bao Nguyen Brown walking into the State Courts on 2 June. (PHOTOS: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

Bao Nguyen Brown

Bao Nguyen, a 40-year-old US citizen on employment pass, is charged with one count of meeting Jeffrey George and Czerny, individuals not living in the same residence, without reasonable excuse, on 16 May between two 6.08pm and 6.40pm in the vicinity of TAP @ Robertson Quay to chat and have drinks.

Her lawyer Namazie told the court that she has a son in school here and has been in Singapore for 14 years.

Jeffrey George Brown walking into the State Courts on 2 June. (PHOTOS: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

Jeffrey George Brown

Jeffrey George, a 52-year-old US citizen, is charged with one count of meeting Bao Nguyen and Czerny, individuals not living in the same residence, without reasonable excuse, on 16 May between two 6.08pm and 6.40pm in the vicinity of TAP @ Robertson Quay to chat and have drinks.

James Titus Beatt walking into the State Courts on 2 June.(PHOTOS: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

James Titus Beatt

Beatt, a 33-year-old British citizen who works in the finance industry, is accused of meeting Buchan, Blair and Poynter, individuals not living in the same residence, without reasonable excuse, on 16 May between two 6.19pm and 6.44pm in the vicinity of Rosso Vinto at 15 Merbau Road to chat and have drinks. Beatt is on an employment pass.

Neil Gordon Buchan walking into the State Courts on 2 June.(PHOTOS: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

Neil Gordon Buchan

Buchan, a 30-year-old British citizen in the marine industry, is accused of meeting Beatt, Blair and Poynter, individuals not living in the same residence, without reasonable excuse, on 16 May between two 6.19pm and 6.44pm in the vicinity of Rosso Vinto at 15 Merbau Road to chat and have drinks. Buchan is also on an employment pass.

Perry Scott Blair walking into State Courts on 2 June. (PHOTOS: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

Perry Scott Blair

Blair, a 37-year-old British citizen and employment pass holder, is accused of meeting Beatt, Buchan and Poynter, individuals not living in the same residence, without reasonable excuse, on 16 May between two 6.19pm and 6.44pm in the vicinity of Rosso Vinto at 15 Merbau Road to chat and have drinks.

Joseph William Poynter walking into the State Courts on 2 June.(PHOTOS: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

Joseph William Poynter

The 35-year-old British citizen and employment pass holder is charged with one count of meeting Beatt, Buchan and Blair, individuals not living in the same residence, without reasonable excuse, on 16 May between two 6.19pm and 6.44pm in the vicinity of Rosso Vinto at 15 Merbau Road to chat and have drinks.

Convicted foreigners risk having work passes revoked: MOM

The charges came after photos of people having gatherings outside various bars and restaurants at Robertson Quay went viral on social media on 16 May, sparking investigations by the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the police.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has reminded foreigners working in Singapore on work passes to abide by the country’s laws, especially as a slew of measures have been implemented as part of a nationwide effort to break the chain of COVID-19 transmission.

“Regardless of pass types, those who are convicted for offences risk having their work passes revoked, in addition to an employment ban,” a MOM spokesperson told Yahoo News Singapore.

“We have consistently revoked the work passes of persons convicted of criminal offences or for making false declarations in work pass applications. They include holders of work permits, S Pass and Employment Passes. In the last three years, more than 100 Employment Pass holders have their work passes revoked.

“As part of a nation-wide circuit breaker to break the chain of COVID-19 transmissions, the Singapore government has introduced a range of measures such as requiring for everyone to wear a mask whenever they leave their homes. These measures are enforced to strictly regardless of nationality. Singaporeans and foreigners alike have been penalised for flouting the rules. These have been widely publicised.

“Work pass holders are reminded to take these rules seriously, for their own protection and the safety of the community at large.”

For each charge of flouting COVID-19 regulations, the accused can be jailed for up to six months, fined up to S$10,000, or both. 

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