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'Legal counsel' for expatriate who refused to wear masks remanded at IMH after claiming to be 'dead entity'

SINGAPORE — A district court on Thursday (Oct 13) ordered a 57-year-old man, who had purported to be a legal counsel for convicted offender Benjamin Glynn last year, to be remanded at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for a two-week psychiatric assessment.

Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman at the State Courts on July 2, 2021.

Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman at the State Courts on July 2, 2021.

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  • Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman faces two charges of breaching Covid-19 regulations by failing to wear a face mask in 2021
  • He allegedly did this at East Coast Lagoon Food Village and outside the State Courts
  • He began standing trial on Oct 13, claiming that he was a sovereign and Singapore laws did not apply to him
  • He later said that Abdul Rashid was a "dead entity"
  • A judge then ordered him to be remanded for psychiatric assessment

SINGAPORE — A district court on Thursday (Oct 13) ordered a 57-year-old man, who had purported to be a legal counsel for convicted offender Benjamin Glynn last year, to be remanded at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for a two-week psychiatric assessment.

Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman ranted so incoherently while testifying during the first day of his trial that Senior District Judge Bala Reddy questioned his fitness to record his plea.

Abdul Rashid had said that he was a "dead entity" and that the person in the courtroom dock was merely representing this dead person to give testimony.

The Singaporean, who faces two charges of breaching Covid-19 laws by failing to wear a face mask in public, earlier indicated that he was neither pleading guilty nor claiming trial.

He also repeatedly said that Singapore laws did not apply to him because he was a “private sovereign, living, breathing man”, and claimed that he hails from Kingdom Filipina Hacienda.

The prosecution then said that they would prove the charges against him.

Glynn, who is British, made similar claims when he was jailed six weeks in August last year and then deported for not wearing a mask on an MRT train and outside the State Courts.

Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman (left) seen with Benjamin Glynn outside the State Courts on July 2, 2021.

COURT INCIDENT

Thursday’s hearing began with Abdul Rashid telling the court that he did not have a National Registration Identity Card (NRIC) or an account with e-authentification system  Singpass for identification purposes.

When questioned by the judge when he stopped having an NRIC, he responded: “From the day I revoked consent.”

He then agreed that his NRIC number was what an interpreter had read out to him.

He is accused of failing to wear a mask over his nose and mouth at the State Courts on July 2 last year. This was when Glynn was first charged, with Abdul Rashid accompanying him as his purported legal counsel.

Abdul Rashid was also charged with not wearing a face mask at East Coast Lagoon Food Village on March 19 last year.

The wearing of masks was mandatory both indoors and outdoors at the time due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Thursday, four witnesses for the prosecution testified about Abdul Rashid’s actions.

Station Inspector Mohammad Ismail Hameed from the State Courts police unit took the court through closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage, which showed Abdul Rashid failing to wear his mask over his nose and mouth within the court premises.

The police officer testified that when he told Abdul Rashid to put it on properly, he complied.

An investigation officer, Senior Staff Sergeant Amiruddin Nordin, also went through CCTV footage within and outside the court building that showed Abdul Rashid’s failure to properly wear his mask:

  • Abdul Rashid questioned whether the investigation officer had jurisdiction over him and the right to “encroach on my private life”
  • The policeman said that he had the power to investigate Abdul Rashid for breaching Covid-19 regulations, and disagreed with Abdul Rashid’s assertion that the police had entrapped him

Mr Amiruddin told the court that Abdul Rashid refused to accede to the police’s repeated requests to provide a statement at Tanglin Police Division and gave several reasons why the law did not apply to him.

The police then decided to go to his home to place him under arrest.

EAST COAST LAGOON INCIDENT

The other two prosecution witnesses then testified about catching Abdul Rashid without a mask at East Coast Lagoon Food Village.

One of them, Mr See Zhi Wei, an auxiliary police officer who worked as a safe distancing enforcer, said that Abdul Rashid did not put on a mask despite several warnings.

“I said, 'Sir, please put on your mask'. He said I have no right to intrude upon his open-air rights. He claimed he was the ambassador of a Filipino country and that he had political exemption,” Mr See said.

Mr See also told the court that Abdul Rashid reacted aggressively when another safe-distancing enforcer told him that he had to put on a mask, regardless of who he was.

Mr See then took a photo of Abdul Rashid’s supposed driving licence from Kingdom Filipina Hacienda.

Another safe distancing enforcer, Mr Romero Armada Jose III Avecilla, testified that Abdul Rashid put his mask on only after a third reminder.

Mr Romero also said that he gave Abdul Rashid two minutes to wear a mask or face the consequences.

Mr Romero added that after Abdul Rashid presented a diplomatic passport that was later determined to be “unrecognised credentials”, the team decided to proceed with enforcement action if he continued breaching safe distancing rules.

Abdul Rashid also threatened to lodge a S$200,000 lawsuit against them.

He was not wearing a mask when he left the hawker centre with his family, Mr Romero testified.

ABDUL RASHID'S TESTIMONY

After the prosecution's witnesses were done, District Judge Reddy called upon Abdul Rashid to give evidence.

He then said that he was in court on a “special appearance, under caution and without consent”.

He requested “65,000 units or 1kg of pure gold” and questioned if the courtroom practised common law. He also asked for “three billion units of functional legal currency”, which he later clarified to be three billion euros.

Eventually, he provided a letter from Changi General Hospital, which stated that he had a heart problem and could not put on a mask because of that.

When the judge pointed out that his two defences seemed to be inconsistent, Abdul Rashid abruptly said that Abdul Rashid was an “entity that can’t talk to the court”.

“They need someone to take the rap… So I, the living, breathing man, the lawful consult of Abdul Rashid, is standing on his behalf,” Abdul Rashid said.

The judge then interrupted the proceedings and asked Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Timotheus Koh how they should continue.

The prosecutor later raised the concern that Abdul Rashid would not be able to follow proceedings and conduct his defence.

DPP Koh added: “The prosecution thinks it’s appropriate to make an order for the accused to be assessed by an appropriate medical professional.”

The judge agreed that while it was not apparent from the beginning of Thursday’s hearing that Abdul Rashid ought to be assessed, his testimony suggested that his fitness to plead should be determined.

Abdul Rashid told the court that he did not understand this, before District Judge Reddy ended the hearing.

He will return to court on Oct 27.

If convicted of contravening the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020 by not wearing a mask, he could be jailed for up to six months or fined up to S$10,000, or both.

Related topics

court crime face mask Covid-19 Benjamin Glynn sovereign

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