Man fined £500 for refusing to isolate and telling police ‘I can do what I want’
A man has been ordered to pay a £500 fine after he refused to obey the coronavirus lockdown restrictions, telling officers: ‘I can do what I want’.
Steven Mackie, 53, was first stopped by police for approaching people in the queue outside a Tesco store in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester, at around 5.30pm.
He offered no reasonable explanation as to why he was out in public, and was driven home in a police van, Stockport Magistrates’ Court heard. During the journey he began kicking and punching the inside of the vehicle, prosecutor Neil Smart said.
Mackie then told officers he would be going back to Tesco, ‘no matter what they said’. He went back to the supermarket at 5.45pm and was arrested there.
The court heard Mackie had refused to keep two metres away from other shoppers, and had told officers when questioned: ‘I can do what I want.’
At the police station, he then added: ‘I was six feet away according to Boris Johnson’s guidelines. What a waste of money and time this is. Six officers attending, have you got nothing else better to do.’
Mackie, who appeared in court wearing a blue mask over his face, pleaded guilty to one count of failing to maintain public health and causing public disorder and nuisance.
Under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations 2020, there is an unlimited fine for the offence.
Kirsten Collins, defending, said that Mackie was embarrassed by and regretted his ‘stupid decisions’ and behaviour. She said there was a history of mental health issues, adding that he intended to visit his GP in the future.
She requested that magistrates impose a fine within Mackie’s means, as a larger penalty could leave him with ‘even less money and less options’.
Mackie apologised from the dock. Chair of the bench, Neill Brettell, then responded: ‘It’s a little bit late. What happens if you have infected anybody?
‘No-one likes to self isolate. No-one likes the lockdown. But the majority of people know it is going to help save lives.’
Mackie said that he did not ‘want to kill people’ and attempted to assure the court he would not be repeating his actions.
Mr Brettell went on: ‘I am not allowed to send you to prison, the law does not allow it, but I hope this fine really hurts you.’
In addition to the £500, Mackie will also have to pay £85 prosecution costs and a £50 victim surcharge. He must pay the total amount in weekly instalments of £5.
If the sum is not paid on-time, he risks a prison sentence.