Can You Can be Fined for Retrospective Violation of Social Isolation? Like a Few Years Ago? By Bruce Bennett

     How crazy does it get? Post-holiday photos on Facebook and get fined. Presumably this was evidence of violating social isolation/quarantine, but there is more to this story than meets the eye:

“A Victorian couple were handed fines totalling more than $3,000 after posting year-old holiday pictures on Facebook during coronavirus lockdown. Earlier this month Jazz Mott and her husband Garry shared photos of their getaway to Lakes Entrance - about a two-hour drive from their home at Traralgon in the state's east. The couple were shocked when police arrived at their home days after the post. 'I was actually stunned when she handed me the fine,' Ms Mott told Daily Mail Australia on Monday. 'The photos were from our trip to the Lakes Entrance in June last year.' Ms Mott said the officer just 'handed her the fine and walked off'. It was only after speaking with her husband she realised the breach must have come as a result of the Facebook post. Ms Mott said she shared the year-old pictures after finding them on a hard drive she'd lost track of when the couple moved house.”

     However, the fines have been revoked. The police claim not to be sitting down trawling through Facebook, looking for violations, but only acting on dibber dabber dobbers. Well, that is good, for a moment there I thought that the police were endangering themselves by exposure to all the mental hazards that looking at Facebook all day would bring. My worry that not having many drivers to ping, attentions were going to computer surveillance. Not a chance, all is well; just ask these guys:

“New powers to police
In the past few days, the New South Wales government has given Police special powers to hand out fines or issue court attendance notices which can result in prison time to anyone suspected of breaking social distancing restrictions. New South Wales Police has thousands of officers trained and ready to crack down on anyone who is not compliant. Individuals can be fined $1,000 and corporations could be hit with fines of $5,000 for breaches. The new penalties also extend to people not following self-isolation rules. The penalties add to laws contained in the Public Health Act in New South wales, whereby failure to comply with ministerial directions can result in up to six months in prison and/or fines of $11,000. There will be an increased police presence around our communities, and public order and riot police will be kitted out with masks and other personal protective equipment. They will conduct community patrols and random checks and will also follow up tip offs that can be lodged during the Crime Stoppers Hotline. It’s understood that the Government is also investigating ‘tracking technology’ which would enable it to keep watch on anyone supposed to be in self-isolation lock down. … Victoria has also increased its police muscle to enforce new rules. Five hundred officers are part of state-wide Operation Sentinel. In Victoria police have already begun door knocking homes and conducting spot checks on returned travellers. In addition, police will also be using technology such as FaceTime to contact people required to self-isolate. Police are also conducting ‘proactive’ patrols to ensure that people are obeying the rules when out in public – at parks, beaches, and shopping centres. In Victoria, failing to comply with directives under the Public Health Act, individuals can be fined $20,000 and companies or corporations, $100,000. Of course, in this time of panic, fear and uncertainty, many members of the Australian Public would agree that authorities must do whatever it takes to protect the health and safety of the general population at this time. But even in these extraordinary times, these are extraordinary laws. While the New South Wales Police Minister, David Elliott, says that this legislation would have a ‘sunset clause’ to remove it in due course, at the appropriate time, just exactly when that will be is uncertain. However, the great fear is that once these draconian control measures are introduced into law, they will be capitalised on once the situation has subsided – whether by the extension of sunset clauses, the quiet insertion of draconian provisions into existing legislation or the introduction of new legislation which contains provisions of the ‘emergency’ legislation.”

     Sydney Criminal Lawyers has a great site jam-packed with useful information, and when I get arrested for the coming crime of pathetic political satire and poor attempts at being funny, I will contact them. A very good coverage of the legal aspects of the coronavirus “panicdemic” too:

     How can things not turn out to be peachy cream?



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Sunday, 21 July 2024

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