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Any Sympathy for This ‘Illegal’ Stowaway? Australian Woman Hides in Truck to Cross Provincial Lines. Is Made an Example Of

They were demanding an unemployed woman gives them $2500 of her money and 2 weeks of her time for the crime of having visited an unwell sister across made-up lines

A Perth woman who hid in a Victorian truck to sneak into Western Australia without quarantining has been jailed for six months, the toughest penalty handed down for the charge since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Asher Van Der Sanden, 28, was sentenced in Perth Magistrates Court on Tuesday for her “deceitful and dishonest” conduct after hiding in a car within a truck to pass through the border at Eucla on August 3 or 4.

She was found at her partner’s Scarborough home on August 11, after failing to arrive at Perth Airport on a flight from Melbourne, as expected.

Magistrate Andrew Matthews described the offence as very serious.

“The fact you’ve come from Victoria is specifically concerning given that’s really the hotspot [“hotspot”] for COVID-19 in Australia and your actions really undo what this government in WA has done to prevent the community spread of this hideous virus,” he said.

The court heard Van Der Sanden, who is unemployed, had been in Victoria for one month visiting her unwell sister when she was granted an exemption to return to WA. The exemption required her to complete 14 days hotel quarantine on arrival at her own expense ($2500).

She instead asked a truck driver at a Mildura roadhouse in regional Victoria for a lift to Perth around July 31. That same day Victoria recorded 557 new coronavirus cases.

Her boyfriend Shaun Pilmer faced court on Tuesday accused of the same charge as Van Der Sanden. He was granted bail to reappear in court on September 22.

In early July, the WA government tightened its requirements for people entering the state from Victoria in response to Melbourne’s second wave of COVID-19 infections.

The new rules required those entering from Victoria to complete 14 days hotel quarantine at their own expense [$2500 for an unemployed woman], rather than 14 days self-isolation at their home, as is required for arrivals from other states.

Outside court, Van Der Sanden’s lawyer John Hammond said the sentence would send a strong message to the community.

Van Der Sanden will be eligible for parole after serving three months at Bandyup Women’s Prison.

At least five people have been sentenced in WA for failing to comply with the Emergency Management Act direction.

Jonathon David, 35, from Victoria was ordered to serve an immediate prison term of one month after he repeatedly breached hotel quarantine to buy food and visit his girlfriend in Armadale in April.

Douglas Nothdurft, 33, from Queensland was jailed for an immediate term of four weeks after walking out of his hotel quarantine and going on an alcohol and meth binge in Perth’s CBD for “a few days” during the same month.

Two women who flew in from Adelaide and escaped hotel quarantine that same night received a suspended prison term and $5000 fine respectively, while a Northam farmer was also fined for failing to self-isolate.

Source: Wa Today

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