Skylar Mack, an 18-year-old woman from Georgia who violated a strict coronavirus quarantine protocol in the Cayman Islands, had her prison sentence reduced from four months to two months on Tuesday.
Mack and her boyfriend, Vanjae Ramgeet, a 24-year-old Cayman Islands resident, had been sentenced to four months in prison after Mack broke the territory’s 14-day quarantine requirement in November when she left her residence to watch Ramgeet compete in a Jet Ski competition. In order to do so, Mack removed a geofencing wristband that is used to track visitors’ movements to the island as part of the quarantine-at-home regulations.
Ramgeet was charged with aiding and abetting her and was stripped of his competition’s prize money and reward. His prison sentence was also reduced to two months on Tuesday, according to court records.
They both had originally been sentenced to 40 hours of community service and a $2,600 fine each, but under the country’s revised penalties for quarantine breaches, prosecutors appealed for a harsher sentence that included prison time for the couple.
A Cayman Islands Grand Court judge then sentenced Mack and Ramgeet to four months in prison for their actions that he said were “borne of selfishness and arrogance.”
On Tuesday, the couple’s attorneys appealed to the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal to reduce their sentences, arguing that the Grand Court should not have interfered with the lower court’s original sentence and that the judge had placed undue weight on public outrage in the case, according to the Cayman Compass. They also argued that the couple had been made an example of and that their sentence was unduly harsh, the Cayman News Service reported.
Mack and Ramgeet’s attorney, Jonathon Hughes, said in a statement to BuzzFeed News Tuesday that they were grateful to the Court of Appeal for agreeing to hear the case “with such urgency.”
“We note that the Court allowed our appeal and agreed with our submission that the 4-month sentence imposed by the Grand Court was not appropriate in the circumstances of this case,” Hughes said.
“Whilst it was our hope that Skylar would be able to return home to resume her studies in January, we accept the decision of the Court and look forward to receiving its written reasons in due course,” the statement said.
The attorney said that Mack and Ramgeet “continue to express remorse for their actions and ask for the forgiveness of the people of the Cayman Islands.”
The Court of Appeal is yet to release a written judgement outlining the reasons for the ruling.
Mack’s family had also appealed to President Donald Trump for help. The US State Department said Monday that it was aware of Mack’s case but declined to provide further comment.
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