£750 fine for ‘out of hand’ party that breached Covid regulations

A MUSICIAN has been fined for breaching Covid regulations after ‘around 100 people’ turned up at his house party when he posted details on social media.

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Robert Baker (21) appeared in the Magistrate’s Court yesterday following the ‘out of hand’ gathering at Grève de Lecq earlier this month. At the time, informal events were limited to a maximum of 20 people.

Officers who attended found people inside and outside the address not socially distancing and not wearing masks, the court heard.

Advocate Katie Ridley, prosecuting, said Baker was arrested and later told officers that on 31 March he had sent a Snapchat video to around ten people and had expected 15 people to turn up.

He also told police that on the day of the party only ten people had arrived and he then sent out invitations over Facebook. Baker, who pleaded guilty, estimated that attendance then rose up to 40 people and then between 60 and 70. However, a neighbour who called the force said there were ‘around 100 people’.

In a Snapchat video seen by the JEP, Baker says: ‘I tell you what. It is a lovely day... it is a lovely day. What about a party at my house? Saturday night – Grève de Lecq. Be there. You’re all invited.’ He then hits his phone with a beer bottle and pans the camera around to show an outdoor swimming pool.

Advocate Martin Elks, defending the former De La Salle and Hautlieu student, who is now an aspiring London-based musician, said the party ‘got out of hand’.

He added that his client had no previous convictions and had been described as calm and compliant by officers who attended – making a ‘full and frank’ admission about what had happened during interview.

‘He has written a letter expressing his regret and remorse and is deeply sorry for letting the people of Jersey down,’ the advocate said.

Fining Baker £750, Assistant Magistrate Peter Harris said: ‘You probably know better than I do about social media and how word gets around.

‘It was almost a dead cert that when you posted online that you were having a party at a nice home in St Mary that lots of people were going to turn up and when that happens it becomes unrealistic to police – you are not going to stand at the door.’

He added: ‘The key point is knowing what we know about the virus now is that indoor gatherings are higher risk than those outdoors.

‘When you factor in alcohol and the social aspect of a party it becomes a high-risk situation.’

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