Tourist risks a jail sentence after failing to self-isolate

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Stephen John Porter (60), from West Yorkshire, arrived in Jersey from Manchester on 27 October at 8am. He intended to stay in the Island for four days.

After undergoing a PCR test, he caught a bus into town and stopped at a shop to buy a pie and some alcohol before checking in at the Hotel de Normandie.

When Porter woke up the next morning, he found an email and a text message advising him that he had tested negative for Covid-19.

Instead of continuing to isolate in line with his obligations, Porter left and went for a walk along the seafront, up to Fort Regent and into the Royal Square. He then walked around town before stopping at the Post Horn pub for a drink.

The court heard that a member of staff at the pub asked Porter to provide his details for contact tracing. After giving a UK mobile number, the worker asked whether he had complied with self-isolation regulations. Porter responded ‘kind of’.

The court was told that the defendant was then asked to leave and told that his details would be given to the Environmental Health Department.

Officers from the unit visited Porter at his hotel room the next day to remind him of his self-isolation obligations. They also informed him that his breach would be reported to police. He was arrested the next day.

During a police interview, he initially said that he had thought he was allowed out as he had received a negative test.

However, he then admitted that he knew he should have been self-isolating and had been ‘pushing the boundaries’.

Advocate Julian Gollop, defending, said that his client had not been aware of the mandatory two-week self-isolation period before travelling, and that, if he had known that, he would not have come to Jersey for a four-day holiday. He added that Porter might have failed to make inquiries before travelling.

He said that his client only had access to £600 and that he might have to stay in Jersey until the end of his self-isolation period. Advocate Gollop added that Porter would not be able to access any additional funds from his UK savings account without first appearing at a UK-based branch in person.

However, Magistrate Bridget Shaw fined Porter £800 and told him that he must pay immediately or face three weeks in prison.

‘This fine is to be paid forthwith or you will be sent to La Moye and can make arrangements there,’ she said.

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