Woman arrested over Sun Plaza incident to claim trial, represent herself

Video screenshot of a woman using abusive language while not wearing a face mask at Sun Plaza. (PHOTO: Screenshot/Facebook)
Video screenshot of a woman using abusive language while not wearing a face mask at Sun Plaza. (PHOTO: Screenshot/Facebook)

SINGAPORE — A Singaporean woman who was charged for not wearing her face mask properly, assaulting a police officer and insulting staff at the Sun Plaza mall told the court on Friday (22 May) that she would be claiming trial.

When Kasturi Govindasamy Retnamsamy was asked by the district judge whether she would be engaging a lawyer, the 40-year-old said, “I think I would be the best person to hold counsel for myself.”

She further added, “If I’m not claiming trial I will not be here.”

The prosecution told the court that Kasturi’s Institute of Mental Health (IMH) report was ready and sought a shorter adjournment to finalise administrative issues. The contents of the report were not revealed in court.

In reply to the prosecution, Kasturi said she “did not understand the offences”.

Asked if she needed her charges read to her again, Kasturi declined, saying that she had signed the charges.

Her case has been fixed for a pre-trial conference on 29 May.

On her first mention on 9 May, Kasturi was handed five charges relating to incidents at Sun Plaza on 7 May, including struggling and resisting arrest, using abusive words on a police officer, and verbally abusing another man and two women. She allegedly told the woman, “COVID-19 is because of you Chinese” and “scan the IC b***h”.

Kasturi was remanded at IMH for psychiatric observation then.

Viral Facebook post

In a Facebook post, the Singapore Police Force said that they received a request for assistance from a crowd management staff deployed by Sun Plaza at about 2.10pm on 7 May.

The staff said that a woman was uncooperative and refused to wear her mask properly at the mall. Despite repeated requests made by the staff to wear her mask properly, she refused to do so.

The woman also insulted the staff and hurled vulgarities at a security officer who came to assist. Her actions were filmed and circulated around online social media platforms, showing her taunting a mall employee, asking him to remove his face mask to speak to her.

When the police officers arrived and requested for her identity, the woman started peeling off the address sticker on her identity card. When one of the police officers tried to stop her, the woman assaulted the officer and remained uncooperative. She was subsequently arrested.

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Woman charged for assaulting police, insulting staff, not wearing mask at Sun Plaza