A Perth resident caught attempting to return to Western Australia without quarantining has received what is being reported as the harshest penalty yet for breaching the state’s border laws.
ABC News reported that the traveller had concealed herself from authorities at the border with South Australia by hiding in a car that was being transported on the back of a truck, after spending “a month” in Victoria.
The woman had reportedly been in Mildura, when she asked the driver to give her a lift to Perth.
According to ABC News, the Perth Magistrates court was told the woman had received an exemption allowing her to fly to Perth, but was told that upon her arrival in Perth she would be required to quarantine for 14 days at her own expense.
Police prosecutor Ian McDowall said after crossing the WA border, the woman was taken to a service station in Midland where she rang her partner and asked him to collect her.
Police then tried to locate her, but McDowall said the woman failed to disclose her location, ABC reported. She was arrested at a unit in Scarborough, around 10 days after her arrival in the state, and has spent the past fortnight in quarantine while in custody.
The woman’s lawyer told ABC News that his client had indicated from when she was first charged that she would plead guilty to the offence of failing to comply with a direction.
He told the national broadcaster that the woman, his client, had “self-quarantined” while she was in the Scarborough unit with her partner and had no contact with any “third party”.
The news comes just a week after WA police charged two travellers for flying into Perth without permission and escaping hotel quarantine to attend a party.
Meanwhile, ABC News has reported that the Western Australian government has claimed a “comprehensive victory” in what is being described as a key legal battle with mining billionaire Clive Palmer, after the Federal Court ruled the state’s border closure was more effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 than any other measure.
Justice Darryl Rangiah said the court’s findings had only been concerned with “the health risks posed by COVID-19 to the Western Australian community” and the court could not “take into account any economic, social or other consequences of COVID-19 or the border restrictions”, according to ABC News.
The legal dispute over WA’s hard border began in May, when Palmer launched a High Court challenge after he was denied a travel exemption to enter the state, which was later joined by the federal government and state tourism operators.
Featured image source: iStock/Bruce Aspley