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Fined for isolation breach

Fined for isolation breach

Thursday 04 June 2020

Fined for isolation breach

Thursday 04 June 2020

A self-employed gardener has been fined £6000 after twice breaching self isolation rules within hours of flying back into Guernsey this week.

Jose Fernandes (38) only arrived back in the island at 15:00 on 2 June, after spending time in the UK with his children and former wife. The Magistrate's Court heard his daughter has leukeamia and he goes over to see his family regularly.

The Crown Advocate and Fernandes' defence Advocate both said he was aware of the law regarding the need to self isolate and that he had been given a leaflet in English and Portugese outlining the guidance before he left the airport. Fernandes had previously self isolated after another recent visit to see his family in the UK. 

However, just hours after arriving back in Guernsey on Tuesday, he left his home address to help his brother look for his missing dog. Shortly after midnight on Wednesday morning, he was stopped by police officers who were concerned about his driving and he was arrested on suspicion of drink driving.

That charge is still to be heard by the courts and will be handled separately.

police station

Pictured: Fernandes was released on police bail in connection with an alleged drink driving offence on Wednesday morning before breaching lockdown rules a second time. 

Fernandes was released by Guernsey Police on bail yesterday morning and returned to his home address - where he said he couldn't sleep because of back pain so he went to visit a friend, for whom he works as a gardener, so he could borrow some pain killers. Whilst there he spent time in her garden but did not enter her house.

In the meantime, Guernsey Border Agency were made aware that Fernandes had breached isolation rules and law enforcement officers went to his home address. When he returned he was arrested and held in custody until his court appearance this morning.

Fernandes appeared before the Magistrate's Court via video link wearing a mask, alongside a translator who also wore a mask for their protection.

Speaking in his defence, Advocate Fletcher said he knows what he did was wrong, and that he wasn't offering any excuses to the court but he was trying to explain his actions.

Magistrate Graeme McKerrell said he didn't believe Fernandes' explanation though.

"It sounds like poppycock to me," he said, adding that "I am putting on record that I think it's rubbish." 

While he didn't dispute the facts of what happened, Judge McKerrell said he specifically didn't believe that Fernandes had left his home to go and get painkillers.

"I give you credit for your previous good character, and your guilty plea," he said, "but the reasons for being out and about are not accepted by me.

"Quite frankly, they are about as lame as they can get."

Royal Court

Pictured: Fernandes has been fined £6000 by the Magistrate's Court. 

Judge McKerrell outlined to Fernandes the risk that he has put the wider community at, reminding him of the reasons behind the self isolation rules.

"Whether or not you believe you had been in contact with anyone who the virus is irrelevant. You simply don't know if you were or not. 

"But we do know that Guernsey has got on top of the virus and the biggest risk to that comes from people like you."

Judge McKerrell fined Fernandes £3000 for each breach, making a total of £6000 which he said had to be paid in full, and that Fernandes would be held in custody until it was.

It's believed Fernandes has paid the fine and left the court building and has gone home to continue self isolating.

He will return to court at a later date on a separate charge of drink driving pending the results of a blood test.

Pictured top: Guernsey Airport. 



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Posted by PeteBurtenshaw16 on
Good on judge mckerrell..its an unfortunate outcome but rules apply regardless if any person agrees or disagrees with them..what is apparently clear, there's big money to be made in gardening..
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