A man who said he was going through a lot of stress when he repeatedly failed to self-isolate after testing positive for COVID-19 has pleaded guilty to two charges.
Javan Mizero Nsangira, 22, appeared before Chief Justice Tracey Clements in P.E.I. Supreme Court where he pleaded guilty to two counts of committing a common nuisance by endangering the public.
Reading from an agreed statement of facts, Crown attorney John Diamond said Nsangira, who is a Congolese UPEI student, tested positive for COVID-19 in July and was supposed to be self-isolating as part of public health measures in place to deal with the pandemic.
The court heard Nsangira violated that self-isolation directive three times, including once when he failed to tell police officers that dealt with him that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
Diamond said that three hours later, Charlottetown police responded to a 911 call after Nsangira’s girlfriend reported he was trying to hurt her.
When the police responded, they arrested Nsangira for assaulting the woman, threatening to beat her up and kicking her bedroom door open, Diamond said.
Nsangira was later released on an undertaking with conditions he stay away from her, and the police made arrangements for him to be housed at Brudenell Resort to self-isolate.
The court heard Nsangira’s girlfriend told police his mental state had been odd recently, and he never acted that way before.
Diamond said that while Nsangira was at the Brudenell Resort, a public health nurse attended to him, and his meals were provided daily.
At a glance
• Since the coronavirus pandemic began, the Public Health Agency of Canada has reported more than 130,000 positive cases across the country with 9,146 deaths as of Sept. 8.
• There have been no deaths in P.E.I. from confirmed COVID-19 cases.
On July 17, despite the self-isolating order, Nsangira left his room and was walking the grounds, which led the public health nurse to ask security to try to keep him in one area because the golf course was open and there were other people around.
The court heard that Nsangira told the nurse he didn’t want to go back into isolation, that it would drive him crazy and that depression would kill him before COVID-19 did.
Diamond said Nsangira also told the nurse he would only listen to the authorities, and if the police arrived, he would listen to them.
Nsangira continued to ignore instructions to self-isolate, and the police were called.
One RCMP officer, who was wearing personal protective equipment, spoke to Nsangira and discussed the need for him to return to his room, Diamond said.
“He refused after reasonable efforts to get his co-operation and he was arrested.”
Nsangira was tested again and was still positive for COVID-19.
Diamond said that by failing to self-isolate while knowing he was positive for COVID-19, Nsangira endangered the public.
All of the officers who dealt with Nsangira had to self-isolate and be tested for COVID-19, which was negative in every case.
Nsangira has been in custody since his arrest on July 17 but was released Tuesday pending his sentencing after agreeing to several conditions, including staying in P.E.I. and living with his cousin in Charlottetown.
Before Nsangira’s case was called, a group of protesters gathered outside the courthouse and several of them were allowed in to watch the proceedings.
Last week, a group protested outside the provincial courthouse seeking to have Nsangira released.
After entering his guilty plea Thursday, Nsangira spoke briefly, saying he was going through a lot of stress at the time of the incidents.
With his guilty plea, the Crown stayed a charge of uttering a threat.
Defence lawyer Derek Bondt asked for a pre-sentence report, and the matter was adjourned until Jan. 19 for sentencing.
Nsangira is still facing charges of assault, uttering a threat and mischief that are before the provincial court.
Diamond said he expects those outstanding charges to be resolved Thursday.