SHAH ALAM: The single mother jailed for violating the movement control order (MCO) walked free from prison today after the High Court substituted her jail term with a fine.
Judicial commissioner Norsharidah Awang imposed the maximum RM1,000 fine on B Lisa Christina, who came to court for a review of her 30-day custodial sentence imposed by a magistrate on April 21.
“I have taken into account that you are a first-time offender and that you have been in prison for eight days.
“However, I will not hesitate to impose a deterrent sentence if you are caught again for breaching the MCO. I hope your days in prison have also served as a lesson for you,” the judge said.
Those found flouting the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within Infected Local Areas) Regulations are liable to a maximum fine of RM1,000, jail of up to six months, or both.
Lisa, 30, paid the fine before she was sent in a taxi to be with her mother in Seremban.
Lisa, who has a six-year-old son, was sent to Kajang prison after pleading guilty to the charge before a magistrate in Petaling Jaya.
Her lawyer, Rajpal Singh, said today that the jail term was an excessive punishment for a first-time offender.
“It is trite law that a fine will suffice without sending the first-time offender to jail,” he said, adding that Lisa was not a hardcore criminal.
Rajpal, who was assisted by Suraj Singh, acknowledged that the Covid-19 pandemic was a serious issue but said the MCO offence for refusing to remain indoors was also an unusual situation for the people.
“Public interest would best be served if Lisa is out of prison as she has to care for her son following the death of her husband in 2016,” he added.
He said Lisa, who lived in a fifth-floor apartment unit, had gone down to buy a packet drink at a nearby shop and stopped to chat with three others before returning home.
“It was at this juncture that she was caught by the police,” he said, adding that two of the others were fined RM1,000 each.
It is unclear what happened to the third offender, an Indonesian.
Rajpal said the sentence for breaching the MCO should be consistent as presently some are fined while others are sent to jail.
“When Lisa committed the offence under phase two of the MCO, the police could have compounded her instead of arresting and charging her later,” he added.
Lisa committed the offence at Taman Subang Mas in Subang Jaya at about 5pm on April 12.
She was freed on police bail after the investigation but hauled up to court later to face the charge.
At the same court, a Bangladeshi named Boshi also had his 60-day jail term substituted with a RM1,000 fine.
He committed the offence at Kampung Paya in Sungai Buloh on April 10, but the magistrate here ordered for the jail term to begin from April 22 after he pleaded guilty.
Lawyer T Harpal Singh represented Boshi, 37, who also paid the fine.
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