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Four-month jail sentence for man who breached Covid rules

A man who “showed disregard for the law” when he ignored Covid rules after arriving at the airport was jailed for four months yesterday.

Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo found Dwight Heatherley, 57, guilty of the Covid breaches after a trial two weeks ago.

The magistrate jailed Heatherley and told him that his behaviour from when he arrived on the island until after the verdict was read constantly showed “disregard for the law”.

He added: “This behaviour, as well as the seriousness of the charges, have to be reflected in your sentence, to deter anyone who may disregard the law.”

Speaking after the verdict was delivered, Heatherley said he was not surprised by the court’s decision.

He said that if Mr Tokunbo really wanted to do the right thing, the case would have been dismissed as soon as he was charged in August.

He added: “[This judgment shows] that there is no hope for humanity or for people who stand up for their rights.”

Mr Tokunbo found Heatherley, from Paget, guilty of not completing a travel authorisation form or paying the fee, as well as not testing for the coronavirus or quarantining at his home at any point after he returned to Bermuda last February.

During the trial, the court was shown footage of Heatherley refusing to fill out the form at LF Wade International Airport, leaving the terminal without testing for the virus and telling a police officer that he was “refusing everything”.

The court also heard that he bought a bottle of water from The MarketPlace on the same date when he was supposed to be in quarantine.

Heatherley took the stand in his own defence during the trial and told the court that, in his opinion, the health regulations in place were not laws, but mandates from the Ministry of Health and he therefore did not consider ignoring them to be a crime.

After the verdict was given, prosecutor Alan Richards suggested that Heatherley serve between one and three months in prison for the offences, which he called serious.

He said: “If the court were to impose a financial penalty on Heatherley, I doubt that he would pay it.”

Heatherley was sentenced to a total of four months behind bars – three for refusing to quarantine and one month for all the other offences.

• It is The Royal Gazette's policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases