An elderly woman with Alzheimer’s disease was recently slapped with a fine for unknowingly breaking France’s coronavirus restrictions. Authorities suggested that the fine should be withdrawn due to the woman’s condition, but the request was denied.
The 73-year-old woman was on her way to the supermarket just half a mile from her home in Luxeuil, eastern France, when she was stopped by police. They wanted to see her paperwork showing her reason for leaving home, because, during COVID-19 lockdown in France, one can only leave home for urgent business such as food shopping, taking kids to school, going to work if it cannot be done from home, or going to the hospital or a pharmacy.
When the police saw that she’d written the incorrect date on the papers, they immediately issued her a fine equivalent to about $180 and sent her home.
Police reportedly did not notice any incoherent speech or other symptoms when they stopped the woman that might have clued them in about her dementia.
The woman was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s five years ago and has been seeing doctors ever since to help manage her condition. Still, mistakes like writing an incorrect date often happen, because her memory isn’t what it used to be.
Rather than paying the fine, the woman’s daughter appealed it, hoping that the authorities would see that her mother’s disease made it very easy for her to make simple mistakes like this one and that she didn’t deserve punishment for it.
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The mayor of the city advised police to withdraw the fine, as did a prosecutor, but the court disagreed, deciding that the woman would ultimately have to pay the price for her mistake, despite her condition.
Not only was the fine not revoked, the court also added late fees to it until the woman ultimately owed about $221.
Certainly, the strict coronavirus policies in France and other parts of the world are in place to help keep people safe, and exceptions shouldn’t be made lightly. However, in a situation like this one, critics are calling into question whether the rules are being taken a bit too far.Whizzco