Woman Jailed For Six Months For Breaking Coronavirus Lockdown Rules In Australia
An Australian woman has been jailed for six months for breaking coronavirus lockdown rules in Australia – thought to be the toughest penalty to date.
28-year-old Asher Faye Vander Sanden had sneaked past the Western Australian (WA) border while hiding inside a car that was being transported by a truck. She had reportedly been visiting her sister coronavirus-stricken state Victoria and was wanting to return home to Perth.
Perth Magistrates’ Court was told Vander Sanden did have an exemption allowing her to fly to Perth, but was told that after she arrived she would have to quarantine in a hotel for 14 days at her own expense.
In a bid to get around this, she asked for a lift instead and failed to announce herself at the border, therefore failing to comply with a direction under WA’s Emergency Management Act.
Despite visiting Victoria, it was reported by Mail Online that Vander Sanden tested negative for the virus.
After returning to Perth, she was arrested on August 11 in Scarborough at her partner’s home. She claims she self-quarantined with her partner and didn’t have any contact with a third party, however the police have called her ‘deceitful and dishonest’.
Magistrate Andrew Matthews described Vander Sanden’s actions as ‘a very serious offence’ to the court earlier today, August 25.
Following her sentencing, her lawyer, John Hammond, said the sentence should be decreased after arguing that she pleaded guilty and cooperated with the police. He also backed her claims of not seeing anyone other than her partner when returning to Perth, and insisted his client had self-quarantined at her boyfriend’s house so there was ‘no contact with the outside community’.
Hammond made a brief comment outside the courts saying, ‘The magistrate sent a very clear message to people coming into Western Australia without quarantining, I can’t say anything more than that.’
Three other people have previously been jailed for similar offences and received six-month sentences, but their terms were partially suspended, meaning they only ended up serving a month behind bars, reported ABC Australia.
Those who only ended up serving a month behind bars got off lightly, as the highest penalty individuals found to have breached WA’s strict quarantine laws can receive is 12 months in prison or a $50,000 fine.
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