Man jailed six months for avoiding TB treatment
DPP says such people are a threat to society
Sick with pulmonary tuberculosis (TB), Mohamed Zaini Parman gambled with the lives of those around him by avoiding medical attention.
After being diagnosed on Jan 3, 2014, he absconded from the Communicable Disease Centre (CDC) three times.
Yesterday, Zaini was jailed six months for breaching an isolation order under the Infectious Diseases Act and giving police false information on June 3, 2015.
District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt said before sentencing Zaini, 54, that punishing him would be in the interest of society in deterring like-minded people from breaking such orders.
Zaini had failed to turn up for an assessment with the Tuberculosis Control Unit on Jan 13, 2014. He was again a no-show on Mar 26 that year.
In May 2014, an isolation order was served to Zaini, requiring him to be detained and isolated at CDC at Tan Tock Seng Hospital till the end of his TB treatment.
Between May 23, 2014 and June 19, 2015, Zaini absconded thrice from the CDC.
Zaini also gave false information to the police when he was screened at a spot check at Bedok Reservoir Road on June 3, 2015. He lied, telling the police officers he was Abdul Rab Md Taib residing in Bedok North Avenue 4.
But one of the officers recognised Zaini and he was detained.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Bagchi Anamika told the court that people like Zaini who discontinue such treatment were a threat to society. His behaviour greatly increases his risk of infecting others.
DPP Bagchi said incomplete TB treatment means TB germs in the body that survive continue to grow and multiply, and they may develop resistance to the first-line TB drugs. While evading the authorities, Zaini had sought his cousin's and niece's help to tell authorities he could not be found.
In urging the court for a total sentence of six months' jail, DPP Bagchi reminded the court there were aggravating factors in Zaini's case.
These include Zaini's infectious state, his intentional evasion from the authorities and the difficulty in detecting him.
Luckily on March 4, 2016, Zaini was located and detained by Ministry of Health Officers.
In mitigation, Zaini, who was not represented by a lawyer, said he was currently going through the TB treatment and asked the judge for a second chance.
For breaking the isolation order under the Infectious Diseases Act, Zaini could have been fined a maximum of $10,000 and jailed not more than six months, or both.
Zaini could have been jailed up to a year and fined not more than $5,000, or both, for giving false information to a public servant.