Man pleads guilty to contradicting MoH’s advice

Fadley Faisal

A 22-year-old local man who pleaded guilty to an offence relating to a video uploaded on social media site Instagram inducing chaos among the public was ordered to settle a fine or face jail by the Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

Mohammad Norhadzrin bin Mohammad Jamain uttered insulting words on the social media platform, likely to cause a breach of peace under Section 19 of the Minor Offences Act, Chapter 30.

In the video, the defendant contradicted Ministry of Health advice in relation to COVID-19. Magistrate Dewi Norlelawati binti Haji Abdul Hamid ordered the defendant to settle a BND450 fine or face a month’s jail in default of payment.

“The defendant’s actions could not be condoned and a deterrent sentence was necessary as the defendant’s ignorance was misleading and had caused further anxiety and unnecessary alarm to the public, his actions were unwarranted particularly at a difficult time like this where our nation is faced with a new pandemic that unfortunately may cause fatalities,” the magistrate said in considering her sentence.

DPP Hajah Atiyyah Azzahra binti Pehin Dato Haji Abas prosecuted the case. The Attorney General’s Chambers also reminded the public that any publications, including videos on social media, likely to cause a breach of peace is an offence which carries a maximum penalty of a fine of BND500.

The public is also warned to refrain from creating, publishing or forwarding fake news or misinformation on COVID-19 as these could be deemed offences under Brunei Darussalam’s national laws, including the Minor Offences Act, Chapter 30 and Section 34 of the Public Order Act, Chapter 148 which carries a maximum penalty of a fine of BND3,000 and imprisonment for three years.