An American teenager and her boyfriend have been sentenced to four months in prison in the Cayman Islands for violating strict COVID-19 measures.
Their attorneys have given notice of appeal in the case that has attracted widespread coverage in the international media.
The couple involved have been identified as Skylar Mack, 18, of Georgia, and Vanjae Ramgeet, 24, of Cayman.
According to the Cayman Compass, Mack removed her geo-fencing wristband and left quarantine two days into her mandatory 14-day isolation period to attend a jet-ski competition in which Ramgeet was taking part.
Both were initially ordered to perform community service and pay $2,600 for the cost of quarantine accommodation after appearing before Summary Court on December 7.
But Grand Court Justice Roger Chapple upheld a prosecution appeal that the penalty was too lenient and on December 15, imposed the four-month prison sentence.
The judge said that Mack had committed a planned, selfish act and there was no alternative to a custodial sentence, despite her age, good character, admissions and her circumstances.
He said he was paying close attention to the message of deterrent needed to protect Cayman’s enviable position of being free of the virus.
Cayman News Service quoted Defence Attorney Jonathan Hughes as saying that the young American female has received hate mail and death threats following the case.
“This has even impacted her father, who is also a professional jet-ski rider and has now lost sponsorship because of it,” the Attorney stated.
““There is no way that it can be right that a custodial sentence is imposed for a first-time offense on an 18-year-old defendant, who entered an early guilty plea,” Hughes declared.
Headline photo courtesy Cayman Compass