Knowingly transmitting virus could result in jail time
ANY person who knowingly has transmitted COVID-19 to someone else without taking precautions could face up to two years in jail, Toowoomba legal firm Creevey Russell Lawyers warned.
Two teenage girls with COVID-19 have been fined $4000 each after travelling to Brisbane from Melbourne and lying to authorities about where they had been, sparking fears of a second wave of the pandemic in Queensland.
In response to the resurgence of COVID-19 outbreaks in Australia's southern states, the Queensland Government earlier this month announced harsher penalties for those in breach of the COVID-19 health directives, including a penalty of six months behind bars.
Creevey Russell crime and misconduct division lawyer Craig van der Hoven said the government also had powers under section 328 of the Queensland Criminal Code to enforce even harsher sentences for more serious COVID-19 breaches.
"Those who are aware they have the COVID virus but don't take precautions and then transmit it to another person, could be charged with Negligent Acts Causing Harm, which carries a term of two years imprisonment," Mr van der Hoven said.
"Prosecutors will need to prove in court the accused did an act or omitted to do an act which it was his or her duty to do by which bodily harm was actually caused to any person and that such an act or omission was unlawful."
Creevey Russell principal Dan Creevey said despite the government imposing a fine of $4,003 for COVID-19 breaches, people remain undeterred and have still been willing to run the gauntlet in order to bypass Queensland's border restrictions.
"In response to the careless disregard of those breaching social distance rules and making false declarations to cross the Queensland border, the government made amendments to the public health directives, so those in breach will either receive an on the spot fine of $4,003 or face court and a penalty of up to six-months imprisonment," he said.
"The inclusion of imprisonment as a penalty is intended to keep Queenslanders safe by further deterring those willing to breach government guidelines and falsify their border declarations. "Whether you receive a fine or a court date is up to the discretion of the police.
"And as we point out, people knowingly transmitting the virus can already face the prospect of a two-year prison sentence if convicted.
"If you have been issued a fine or court date for breaching a public health directive in relation to COVID-19, contact the Crime & Misconduct Team at Creevey Russell Lawyers to discuss your rights and options."