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Man seen without mask on train remanded at IMH after rant during first day of trial

SINGAPORE — A man who was seen without a mask on an MRT train was ordered by a judge on Thursday (Aug 5) to be remanded at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) after ranting in court.

Benjamin Glynn in a photo taken on July 2, 2021.

Benjamin Glynn in a photo taken on July 2, 2021.

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SINGAPORE — A man who was seen without a mask on an MRT train was ordered by a judge on Thursday (Aug 5) to be remanded at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) after ranting in court.

The prosecution pointed out that Benjamin Glynn's family and friends had written to them reporting a "marked change of behaviour" in Glynn that was noticeable especially after Covid-19 restrictions set in here.

Glynn, 40, a British, faces four charges of failing to wear a mask without reasonable excuse, being public nuisance and using threatening words towards a public servant.

Throughout the hearing, Glynn repeated that he was a sovereign, living man against whom the charges had no effect. He called the proceedings "preposterous" and "disgusting".

His supporters filled the courtroom, with one woman repeatedly laughing and another clapping loudly when Glynn slammed Singapore's judiciary. Court officers stepped in to stop them at various points.

Thursday was meant to be Glynn's first day of trial, but he insisted that he would not be pleading guilty or not guilty because it was "nonsense".

The hearing opened with Glynn trying to introduce his legal counsel, a Mr Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman. He had appeared in court with Glynn previously, but was stopped at the door for improper attire.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Timotheus Koh told the court that the prosecution had performed its checks and confirmed that Mr Abdul Rashid was not an advocate and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore.

Mr Abdul Rashid said that he is not, but that he is an "ambassador at large and advocate of Kingdom Filipina Hacienda", and that he was there to defend his "sovereign compatriot".

He said he understood the meaning of the bar, but said that "I don't need a licence to practice".

DPP Koh told the court that the prosecution would be making an application for Glynn to be assessed at IMH, to see if he is of unsound mind.


DPP Koh said: "Prosecution has received a letter from the accused's family and friends or persons purporting to be his family and friends and in this letter. The persons report a marked change of behaviour in the accused's person that was noticeable especially after the Covid restrictions set in." 

Given this new information, as well as Glynn's behaviour in court and previous hearings and his choice of counsel, the prosecution said that it would be "prudent" to assess Glynn to ensure he is of sound mind and capable of making his defence.

Glynn interrupted at several points. He told District Judge Eddy Tham: "I assure you my mind is very sound. Every time I ask you hard questions, you can't answer me, you shoot me down. What law have I broken? I asked you three times the last time, you gave me silence, silence, silence."

He added that he was "wide awake", "enlightened" and researched "everything" but believes nothing.

When Mr Koh added that Glynn's family members have reported his "increasing hostility" towards them, Glynn interjected: "The certificate of vaccine regulations does not apply to the living man and I'm well aware of this fact.

"Why have the mask regulations been dropped all over American and Europe? Because they are unconstitutional. I don't get my information from The Straits Times."

He asked if the prosecutor had seen his "sovereign ID", adding that he felt like "a PhD law lecturer dealing with a GCE law student".

He claimed that the police "kidnapped and abducted" him on his daughter's birthday, arresting him a second time at his hotel.

"I hid in the bathroom and I said — I do not consent, I do not comply. They dragged me out of the shower and handcuffed me. I asked them what crime am I accused of committing. Silence," Glynn continued.

He claimed that he spent 18 days "being tortured in Changi Prison".

"What kind of justice is this, this is preposterous, and the torts against either living man that have been done against me include two unlawful arrests, two false imprisonments, two trespasses against me. They've stolen my passport, my God-given right to travel," he said.

He added that he understood the law "better than anyone you've ever dealt with before" and demanded to be released and sent back to England with his family, "and let's not have a big fuss and scene over this".

He continued to say that his defence is "very solid and water-tight" and that the prosecutor "has no control over my legal fiction".

"I will never plead guilty or not guilty. I can't believe this has been going on since the 8th of May," Glynn said.

"It's so straightforward, it's so clear that this sham of a case should be dropped."

A woman in the public gallery burst out laughing soon after this and another woman waved two thumbs up at Glynn.

Judge Tham ordered Glynn to be remanded at IMH for two weeks and return to court on Aug 19.

At this, Glynn raised his voice, saying this is "absolutely outrageous injustice".

"I am disgusted. How can you send an innocent man to prison when he has not been found guilty and the charges do not apply to him... I am disgusted at how the Singapore judicial system has treated me and my family," he said.

The woman who had raised her thumbs at Glynn clapped very loudly at this point and the judge reminded her to observe court decorum.

As proceedings wound down, Glynn called to the prosecutor: "Good luck getting into the Book of Life, Mr Koh. Good luck with that one. How can you say Singapore is a safe country. Police who hunt me down like a pack of wild animals. This is not justice. This is disgusting. I am appalled."

He added that he would be "seeking lawful remedy".

Glynn will be taken back to court in two weeks. He has been in remand since July 19, after being handed a charge of not wearing a mask outside the State Courts. CNA

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