Police moved several people on in Ballina under coronavirus Public Health Orders.
Police moved several people on in Ballina under coronavirus Public Health Orders.

COVID-19 lockdown rules lands G’bah man in jail

A GOONELLABAH man who disobeyed COVID-19 lockdown restrictions has been sent to jail for two months.

Tyrone Geoffrey Kenneth Stewart, 21, was arrested on April 18 in Ballina after police had asked him three times to move on from public places because he was breaching social distancing restrictions.

He was charged with failing to comply with direction in relation to COVID-19 restrictions, providing false or misleading information, refusing to comply with a direction and resisting arrest.

Police first encountered Stewart and two other men at Missingham Park in the early hours of April 18 and informed the group of the ministerial health direction of a limit of two people in a group at any one time.

Officers were then later called to Owen St, Ballina, after receiving several calls about a group of intoxicated people playing "loud rap music" shortly before 2am, according to court documents.

When police arrived, they found five people, including Stewart, intoxicated.

The group told officers they were out fishing, despite not having any fishing equipment nearby, and Stewart explained he was "exercising" in the early hours of the morning.

The group were informed about the COVID-19 restrictions and "begrudgingly" moved on.

About half an hour later police received another call about intoxicated people "yelling" at Meldrum Park, Ballina.

Police attended the park and once again found Stewart among the group.

He was asked to provide his details after he continued to breach the ministerial public health directions.

Stewart then provided false details to police and when police asked him to once again move on from the park, he failed to comply, and they arrested him.

However, during his arrest he "violently" struggled with police before being secured by two other officers who were assisting.

He later told police he had consumed "five or six beers", which was in contradiction to his bail conditions.

At the time of his arrest, Stewart had been on bail and an intensive corrections order for separate matters, including common assault and destroying property.

The court had previously ordered him to abstain from alcohol.

He appeared before Lismore Local Court on Monday and was sentenced to two months imprisonment for breaching his bail and ICO.



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