Briton to be deported after Singapore conviction for refusing to wear mask

A British man jailed in Singapore for breaking coronavirus protocols by refusing to wear a face mask was released on Thursday and will be deported, the country's prison department said. 

Benjamin Glynn, 40, was convicted on Wednesday and sentenced to six weeks in jail but was released due to time served while remanded in detention, which included two weeks in a mental health institution, the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) said. 

Glynn was found guilty on four charges over his failure to wear a mask on a train in May and at a subsequent court appearance in July, as well as causing a public nuisance and using threatening words towards public servants. 

In a statement seen by Reuters, SPS said Glynn was being processed by Singapore's immigration authority, which would make arrangements for his deportation. 

The judge had sent Glynn for psychiatric assessment due to his conduct and remarks made in court. 

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In an emotional voice, Glynn said in court: “In the last three months I have been psychologically and emotionally tortured, especially the last 33 days in a prison cell. Please drop the unlawful charges against me, return my stolen passport and return me to my home country (so that I can) finally be reunited with my two kids.”

The officers testified that Glynn had told them, "I am going to f**king drop you" and adopted a boxing stance that night.

“I was pretty sleepy, confused and scared,” Glynn said. He added that when the two police officers rang his doorbell around midnight, he thought something terrible had happened to his family members.

“I thought my mum or dad or sister or one of them had died, when I spoke to them initially that was my first thought… I was relieved (when they told me about the incident).”

“The basis of defence has nothing to do with my actions. The basis of my defence is the fact that I understand and studied the law, I understand trust law, contract law, tort law, I have studied this for quite a long time. It is not difficult to understand common law. I know what a crime is, there must be a victim which is a living man or woman, not a legal fiction which is what you are, officers. You are not living men and women, they are legal fictions. I am living man, I control my public trust,” he said.

“So therefore I do not consent to this maritime contract, I have not agreed to (a) contract and they have no jurisdiction over me, it's fairly simple.

“The police completely ignored me… I am not, I am enlightened and awakened and very educated man and I know my rights and God-given rights that no person, be it legal fiction living man or woman, can interfere in and that is what I am standing up for my kids, so they do not have to cover their face.”

He added that the only place one has to wear a mask is at the workplace, subject to a contract by an employer who pays a salary, or if the owner of a residence he visits requires so.

“We have no contract. This is commerce, this is lowest form of law there is. I am a man of God, I answer to God, I will not cause damage or harm to man or property, that is how I will live my life,” he said. He pointed to examples in the US and Europe, adding that the mask rules were dropped because of “someone like me” standing up against the rules.

“If people want to wear it I am happy for them but I do not wish to cover my face… I do not wish to breathe my own recycled carbon dioxide, I like to breathe oxygen.”


The judge told Glynn he was "completely misguided" in is belief that he was exempt from Singapore's laws on wearing masks. 

The Asian business hub is well-known for its enforcement of strict rules and has jailed and fined others for breaking Covid-19 regulations. Some foreigners have had their work permits revoked for rule breaches. 

The city-state has kept its coronavirus outbreaks under control, in part due to its strict enforcement or measures. 

In February, a Singapore court sentenced a British man to two weeks in jail.