Visitor fined £5.9K for going on a pub crawl instead of self-isolating

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James Arthur George Shields (52) appeared in the Magistrate’s Court yesterday after pleading guilty to breaching Covid laws on two occasions.

The court heard that the defendant arrived in Jersey on 30 October at 4.15pm and undertook a PCR test before travelling in a taxi to the Mornington Hotel near Howard Davis Park.

While en route, he received a call from an Environmental Health Officer who had been informed that the defendant was heavily intoxicated and had told testing staff that he did not intend to self-isolate. She reminded him of his obligations.

Soon after taking the call, Shields diverted his taxi, asking to be taken to the Admiral Pub for a drink. At 5.50pm police officers arrived and arrested him in the pub where he was sitting at a table with a drink, and his luggage around him.

After being questioned by the police and released from custody he then checked in at the Hotel de Normandie to complete the remainder of his self-isolation and received his test results hours later.

However, the following day, he left the hotel and visited the Union Inn, Chambers, the Dolphin in Gorey and the Bagot Inn in St Saviour. He also walked to First Tower.

While he was out, officers visited the hotel to check that he was present. As he was absent, he was arrested the following day.

Advocate Julian Gollop, defending, said his client, who is alcohol-dependent, had planned to stay at the Mornington Hotel but ‘got the shakes’ and instead went to the pub in search of alcohol.

He added that his client, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after living through a number of traumatic events, was very apologetic and was ashamed of his behaviour. Advocate Gollop also said that his client’s only source of income came from incapacity benefits that he received from the UK government and that he had no savings.

However, Magistrate Bridget Shaw said Fields had undertaken a ‘wholly foolish exercise’ and that he never had any intention of complying with Covid regulations. She fined him £5,900, payable immediately, and told him he would face 15 weeks in custody if he did not pay up.

‘I have taken into account what your advocate has said but you should have never dreamt of coming here in the first place,’ Mrs Shaw said.

‘The only reason these regulations are in force is to protect the public of Jersey. You are probably aware of the situation in the UK and the actions that are having to be taken there.’

She added: ‘If you pay something towards them [the fines], then you can reduce the time that you will spend in custody.’

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