SINGAPORE — A 39-year-old man who was charged on Friday (2 July) for failing to wear a mask in public not only arrived at the State Courts without a mask and TraceTogether app or token, he also took off his mask while leaving the court building.
Benjamin Glynn, a British expatriate, was charged with not wearing a mask while in an MRT train, causing public nuisance and for threatening police officers who went to his residence.
Glynn is said to have failed to wear a mask on 7 May between 11.06pm and 11.31pm while travelling from Raffles Place to Holland Village MRT stations. During the same period, he allegedly committed public nuisance by declaring “I will never wear a mask” while on the train.
Two days later, on 9 May, at about 12.27am, while at the ground floor lift lobby of 369 Holland Road, Allsworth Park, Glynn allegedly told two police officers, “I’m gonna [expletive] drop you” while adopting a boxing stance.
In a video which went viral, Glynn was seen declaring, "I will never wear a mask", while in an MRT train. He also refused to wear a mask offered to him by another commuter.
Went to court without a mask
For his hearing on Friday, Glynn walked up to the State Courts building without a mask, and with a pair of headphones around his neck. He was stopped by security staff at the building's entrance and asked to wear a mask. He then took a mask out from his pants pocket and put it on. He was then asked to wear the mask properly as he initially failed to cover his nose with it.
His entry in court was further delayed when Glynn, dressed in a printed shirt and shorts, told the staff that he did not have the TraceTogether app or token. He was seen gesturing and exclaiming at staff before his companion - a man later said by Glynn to be his legal counsel - exited the building to help him.
Glynn was then seen pulling down his mask as his companion discussed the matter with security staff. The pair were allowed into court some few minutes later.
In court, Glynn went to the dock with his mask below his nose and was told by District Judge (DJ) Lorraine Ho to "wear his mask". He pulled it up but the neon yellow mask slipped below his nose again, prompting DJ Ho to again ask him to wear his mask.
Asked if he was going to claim trial or plead guilty, Glynn said he did not understand his options.
When DJ Ho said if he had legal representation, Glynn said, "I have legal counsel, but he was not allowed into the building... I don't know why. He was not wearing the correct attire, they said." The man he referred to was wearing a striped polo T-shirt with pants. Lawyers usually don suits in court.
The case was stood down for the legal counsel to make his way into the courtroom.
Glynn's legal counsel then arrived in court but sat in the public gallery. According to the prosecutor, the legal counsel said he would be sending representations to the prosecution.
A pre-trial conference has been set for 23 July.
Glynn removed his mask immediately upon stepping out of the State Courts building after being charged and left without his mask on.
A Daily Mail report on 17 June quoted Glynn as saying, “This whole situation is ridiculous. I want to leave the country anyway - just let me go! I think it's insane that I am facing a trial at all, just for not wearing a mask.”
If convicted of the offence of causing public nuisance, Glynn faces a jail term of up to three months, a fine of up to $2,000, or both.
If convicted of contravening the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020, he faces a jail term of up to six months, or a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
Those found guilty of using threatening words towards a public servant under the Protection from Harassment Act can be jailed up to 12 months, or fined up to $5,000, or both.
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