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The Straits Times
July 25, 2023
A Singaporean woman who allegedly caused a ruckus during a court trial of a Briton arrested for not wearing a mask in public amid the Covid-19 pandemic was sentenced to eight weeks’ jail on Tuesday for other offences including spitting at police officers.
Tarchandi Tan, 53, was also ordered to pay a fine of $4,200 and will have to spend an additional 21 days behind bars if she cannot pay the amount.
Following a trial, District Judge Kow Keng Siong earlier convicted her of three counts of failing to present herself at places including the State Courts and two counts of using criminal force on public servants.
On Tuesday, Tan, who was not represented by a lawyer and claimed to be a “sovereign” citizen, was asked if she wanted to have her two charges linked to her alleged antics during Mr Benjamin Glynn’s trial to be taken into consideration.
Among other things, Tan is accused of hurling insults at District Judge Eddy Tham on Aug 18, 2021, by uttering words such as, “This is a ridiculous kangaroo court”.
Addressing her directly on Tuesday, Judge Kow said: “If you agree (to the two charges)... you must admit to having done the acts.”
After discussing the matter with her partner who was in the gallery, Tan told the court: “I’m innocent. I maintain my innocence.”
These two pending charges will be dealt with at a later date.
Following Mr Glynn’s trial in 2021, Tan, who was then known as Lee Hui Yin, repeatedly failed to obey orders from the authorities even though she was legally bound to do so.
Deputy public prosecutors Chong Kee En and Hidayat Amir stated in their submissions that on Aug 5, 2022, Station Inspector (SI) Noor Azhar Daud personally hand-delivered an order, asking Tan to turn up at the Central Police Divisional headquarters five days later.
The prosecutors said that Tan had received the order, as she later sent the policeman an e-mail with a scanned copy of the document.
Two other similar orders were also delivered to her, but they were later returned to the police with various markings, including those that read: “Please don’t throw papers (sic) into my private property.”
The prosecutors said the body-worn cameras of SI Noor and his two colleagues showed that Tan was at home when they served the documents to her.
The prosecutors told the court: “The overall picture that emerges is crystal-clear. All three police officers had exhausted every effort to serve on the accused the respective orders before the dates stipulated in the said orders and the accused, despite having full knowledge of the orders, intentionally refused to comply with them.”
She did not turn up for an interview at Central Police Divisional headquarters on Aug 10, 2022. She was also a no-show at the State Courts the following month.
A group of police officers, including Senior Staff Sergeant Nur Misriya Abdul Mutalib and SI Noor, went to her Bukit Batok home after a warrant of arrest was issued against her on Nov 10, 2022.
Tan was in a police car heading to Central Police Divisional headquarters when she spat at the two officers’ faces.
She was charged in court and later released on bail.
The prosecutors said in their submissions that Tan had earlier been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
However, a psychiatrist from the Institute of Mental Health found that her condition was “not operative and was in relapse” at the time of her offences.
The prosecutors told the court that Tan’s actions were not congruent with her condition.
During her mitigation on Tuesday, Tan told Judge Kow: “I’m innocent. They arrested me with no warrant... You can sentence me as you deem fit. God will have the final judgment.”
DPP Hidayat then said that she had shown a lack of remorse as she continued to maintain her innocence.
Separately, Mr Glynn, then 40, was jailed for six weeks in 2021 after Judge Tham convicted him of two charges under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act, as well as one count each of harassment and being a public nuisance.
The former recruitment consultant, who had also claimed to be a sovereign citizen, was later deported and barred from re-entering Singapore.