An appeals court in the Cayman Islands cut in half the sentence for a Loganville woman and her boyfriend, who were convicted recently of flaunting the commonwealth's quarantine rules.
Skylar Mack, 18, and 24-year-old Vanjae "VJ" Ramgeet had their sentences reduced Tuesday from four months to two.
A lower court in the Caribbean nation had sentenced Mack and Ramgeet to a fine and community service, but prosecutors were able to secure four-month prison sentences after they allegedly broke the public health laws related to COVID-19.
They were the first people convicted of breaking strict new rules designed to keep the Cayman Islands free of the illness caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
"The court allowed our appeal and agreed with our submission that the four-month sentence imposed by the Grand Court was not appropriate in the circumstances of this case," defense attorney Jonathan Hughes said in a statement reported by the Cayman News Service.
"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."
Defense attorney Jonathan Hughes told the Cayman News Service the president of the nation’s appeals court agreed to a special sitting to hear the case early this week.
Mack was a 2019 graduate of Loganville High School who is studying pre-med at Mercer University.
She went to the Cayman Islands to watch Ramgeet perform in a professional water sports competition.
They were arrested after police saw them mingling in the crowd without wearing masks or practicing social distancing, according to the Cayman Compass newspaper.
Mack allegedly failed to adhere to a required 14-day quarantine upon arriving in the Caymans, but instead went out after just two days and removed a location tracking device from her wrist, according to news reports in Georgia and the Caymans.
She issued a formal public apology Dec. 13: “I am aware that the Cayman Islands Government has done nothing but dedicate extreme caution to combat the spread of COVID-19, for this the country and its citizens can be extremely proud; I made a mistake and words cannot express how sorry I am for this. … I was afforded the opportunity to enter the islands during these trying times and I abused it. I am humbly asking for the forgiveness of the community.”
Mack's family has reached out to President Donald Trump and the U.S. embassy in the Cayman Islands for help in the case.