GEORGE TOWN: The 24 men arrested for playing football at a seminary in Tanjung Bungah pleaded guilty today to violating the movement control order (MCO) under disease control laws.
The men, who are in training to be Catholic priests at the College General Catholic seminary, were sentenced to three hours of community service on weekdays for three months.
Magistrate Rosnee Mohd Radzuan handed down the sentence under the Offenders Compulsory Attendance Act 1954 which allows the prisons director-general to decide on the nature of community service according to court orders.
The men were charged with committing the offence at about 5pm on March 31, on the college grounds at Jalan Cengai in Tanjung Bungah.
The offence, under Rule 3(2) of Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2020, carries a fine of RM1,000 or jail time.
The 24 are Addie Frank Anak Lingge, 36; Adrian Linus Lojikip, 31; Brywinedren Godon, 30; Joel Rut Markus, 28; Jonathan Seah, 24; Lincoln Lee, 40; Timothy Galisin, 32; Ashley Stephen Chau, 39; Cantona Anak Cyril, 25; Heldy Amin, 32; Jerome Loganathan Amudalingam, 43; Joseph Wong Pak Yii, 32; Lordkennylister P James, 34; Mark Edward Calady Muniandy, 39; Patrick Hilary Sandnasamy, 32; Tan Yee Ping, 38; Tarence Joe Anak Japar, 28; Uvarajah Dhamodaran, 32; Ashvin Andrew Xavier, 32; Lincoln Lewis De Silva, 40; Ronfernandez Sandanasamy, 31; Stephen Suhaili, 37; Sinnapan Maniam, 34; and Ryan Innas Muthu, 48.
Deputy public prosecutor Nabila Huda Muhammad Nazim argued for a deterrent sentence to show that MCO regulations are to be taken seriously.
During mitigation, however, the men’s lawyer K Simon Murali said the seminary had imposed strict measures within its grounds prohibiting the men from leaving at any time during the MCO.
He added that they were not allowed any social interaction with outsiders, and lived as a family unit. Each had undergone medical examination and had been given a clean bill of health.
“The football game was part of a health maintenance regime for seminarians to keep fit, and the field was within the confines of the College General compound.
“The perimeters are fenced and there’s a security guard post at the main entrance with strict checks,” Simon said when contacted.
Also appearing for the 24 men was lawyer Joy Appukuttan.
The men were arrested on Tuesday afternoon after a resident of a nearby apartment informed the police that a football match was being held at the field.