Briton Had Wanted to Plead Guilty for Not Wearing Mask But Changed His Mind After Jail Term is Proposed

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When the circuit breaker officially kicked in Singapore in April 2020, we took the warnings and advice of our government quite seriously.

Or at the very least, we can proudly say the choice to wear a mask was considered a matter of public and personal health and safety, rather than some debate topic or fashion statement.

(Yes, America, we’re talking about you.)

We might have complained about masks being stuffy in the humid weather, blamed the government for not taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously at first, but we wore them dutifully anyway, and gave a stank eye to whoever that didn’t.

Alas, there were still some deviants who thought that the law would close one eye to occasional misdemeanours. 

Lady Justice may be blindfolded, but you can be assured that her enforcers have perfect eyesight.

Briton Accused of Failing to Wear His Mask Repeatedly

Philip Richard Mockridge, a 55-year-old Briton-slash-Singaporean Permanent Resident, was accused of failing to wear his mask in public numerous times during the pandemic.

Between Nov 2020 and May 2021, there were three instances where he was caught red-handed: once at Sengkang MRT/LRT stations, another at Serangoon MRT station, and lastly at a fast-food outlet at City Square Mall in Kitchener Road, near Little India.

For each charge under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act, a first-time offender can be jailed up to six months and/or fined up to $10,000.

For repeat offenders, they may face a maximum jail sentence of a year and fined up to $20,000.

That’s right, Singapore wasn’t messing around when they implemented the mask mandates—something Mockridge didn’t internalise until he stood before the judge and prosecution on 18 April.

If anything, his name does suit persona, like being a Richard who mocks and flouts the rigidity of the rules.

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Mockridge: Not Represented by a Lawyer, Needs More Time

The prosecution didn’t hold back, of course.

They told the judge that Mockridge should be jailed for a week and fined $5,000 for repeatedly failing to wear a mask in public.

In all fairness, Mockridge had stepped into court with the intent of pleading guilty but backed out at the last minute when he realised that the proposed sentence was “extremely steep”.

Unrepresented by any legal defence, Mockridge told District Judge Soh Tze Bian that he had just received the court of documents containing the statement of facts that very Monday and needed more time.


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… To probably hire a lawyer and digest the weight of his offence, not necessarily in that order.

Hence, the case was adjourned, and Mockridge’s pre-trial conference is scheduled for 18 May.

Mockridge was originally accused of committing a fourth offence, that of obstructing a public servant from executing his duties, but this charge was withdrawn earlier this month, which is basically the equivalent of an acquittal.

This means that he can’t be charged for that particular offence again.

Regardless, he still needs to get his legal affairs together because he has charges to properly answer for next month. 

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Featured Image: Shutterstock / LvNL


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