Defendant found in wardrobe during self-isolation breach

SUSPICIONS of a maintenance man at The Farmhouse hotel that somebody was failing to self-isolate were confirmed when he found a woman hiding in a wardrobe.

(Picture by Sophie Rabey, 30006168)
(Picture by Sophie Rabey, 30006168)

In the Magistrate’s Court yesterday, Aivis Licitis, 34, of Staff Quarters, The Doghouse, Rohais, St Peter Port, admitted failing to comply with the requirement to self-isolate while Gundega Dreimane, 43, of Benamy, Le Feugre, Ruette de la Tour, Castel, admitted aiding and abetting him to do it.

Prosecuting officer Marc Davies told the court how Licitis had arrived in Guernsey to work from Latvia on 24 May. He was supposed to self-isolate at The Farmhouse until 5 June. Mr Davies said a recent report to the Guernsey Border Agency suggested that he might have failed to self-isolate and the matter had been investigated.

While in his room Licitis had been visited by Dreimane, who stayed for 15 to 20 minutes while taking him food.

Suspecting that Licitis was failing to self-isolate after hearing noises coming from the bedroom, a maintenance man who entered found Dreimane hiding in a wardrobe.

The matter was reported and in interview, both defendants admitted that the woman had been in the room. They had no previous convictions.

Advocate Nick Barnes said Licitis, while travelling, had provided negative Covid tests in Latvia, Jersey and Guernsey on arrival.

The reason that the woman had gone to the room was that she had been in a relationship with the man and she needed to know where they had stood. She thought she could only do that face-to-face. He had been on the balcony and she was by the door and there had been a distance of four metres between them. Both were now returning to Latvia and he asked the court to bind his clients over to leave the island.

Judge Graeme McKerrell said he was not prepared to do that for this offence.

Advocate Barnes said it had not been an entirely reckless act, given Licitis’ tests and the distance between them.

Licitis had no money and Dreimane had £1,000 which she needed to get home. Her mother was sick and his client needed to look after her. Licitis had been unemployed since his arrest as he did not have a permit to work here.

Judge McKerrell said this was the third time that the matter had been before the court and he struggled to see why it had taken so long for guilty pleas to be entered given the circumstances. Both had been caught red-handed by a member of staff who should be commended for reporting the matter.

Whether or not Licitis’ tests had been negative was largely irrelevant. Tests were not infallible and the law required him to self-isolate.

He found Dreimane’s reason for being in the room to be spurious. Whether it had been for emotional reasons or not, her actions had been selfish and it was people like her who put Guernsey at risk of spiralling back into lockdown.

His sentencing options were limited in the circumstances and people would not be sorry to see them go, he said.

‘But the sentences have to be proportionate and take in to account your personal circumstances,’ he said.

Dreimane was fined £1,000 and a prison sentence of 28 days, suspended for two years, was imposed.

‘You initiated the incident,’ Judge McKerrell told her.

Licitis was jailed for 14 days with immediate effect.

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