A man has been charged after he allegedly drove his vehicle at a security guard while attending a COVID-19 testing clinic in Sydney’s south.
According to reports from NSW Police, around 10:30am on Sunday 15 August 2021, a 61-year-old man visited Sutherland’s drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic, situated on Forest Road.
The man was given directions from staff however allegedly disregarded them, before hurling out verbal abuse to a security guard monitoring the clinic.
As a consequence, the man was instructed to leave the clinic, but instead of doing this, he allegedly drove his vehicle towards the security guard, only to collide with two signs and then speed off from the area.
The incident was promptly reported to police who tracked down the man a short while later at a home in Jannali where he was arrested.
He was taken to Sutherland Police Station where he was charged with a series of offences, including operate vehicle so as to harass/intimidate person, negligent driving and behave in offensive manner in/near public place.
Fortunately, the security guard was not physically injured during the attack.
In NSW, it is against the law to use a vehicle or vessel in an intimidatory manner.
This is reflected in section 11H of the Summary Offences Act 1988, which states that a person must not operate a motorised vehicle or motorised vessel in a public place in such a manner as to harass or intimidate another person, oras would be likely to cause a person of reasonable firmness to fear for his or her personal safety.
In NSW, the maximum penalty for an offence of using a vehicle or vessel in a manner that intimidates is a fine of $660.
It should be noted, as per section 11H, that no person of reasonable firmness needs actually be, or be likely to be, present at the scene, for an offence to take place.
A vehicle refers to anything on wheels, tracks or skis, other than a vehicle used on a railway, tramway or monorail, and anything else declared by the regulations to be a vehicle.
A vessel refers to anything that is used, or is capable of being used, as a means of transportation on, under or immediately above water, and anything else declared by the regulations to be a vessel for the purposes of this section.
Increasing Attacks on Testing Staff Amid NSW’s COVID-19 Pandemic
The aforementioned attack in Sydney’s south is not the first of its kind at an NSW COVID-19 testing clinic.
Earlier in August, a 50-year-old man was charged after he allegedly assaulted a health worker at another testing site in Sydney’s north-west.
It is reported a man began arrived at the Kissing Point Road clinic in Dundas around 4pm on Monday 11 August and began filming 31-year-old nurse Rebekka Boicheska on his phone.
He then allegedly verbally abusing her about vaccinations.
Nurse Boicheska spoke to 9News about the attack, expressing her terror as it unfolded.
“There was a gentleman who was filming us workers coming down the driveway here, and then he sort of went onto the main road,” Ms Boicheska said to the news outlet.
“He was approaching me with his camera with his phone.”
According to the nurse, she kindly requested the man step away as he carried on shouting insults about the vaccinations.
However, instead of leaving, the man seethed into an even deeper fit of rage.
It was at this point that he allegedly knocked off the nurse’s protective visor and struck her in the head.
“He actually took two swings at me, one hit me on this side of my neck, the other one just grazed me sort of on this side,” Mr Boicheska said.
“I was quite shaken up, my first thought was just to run to safety.”
Fortunately, the people who had turned up to get COVID-19 tests were able to come to Ms Boicheska’s aid, all while her alleged attacker swiftly absconded from the scene on foot.
The nurse was treated at the scene, and luckily, did not require a hospital visit.
Police managed to arrest the 50-year-old at a home in nearby Telopea.
He was taken to Granville Police Station and charged with common assault, two counts of possess prohibited drug and breach of the public health orders.
The man was granted conditional bail and will face Parramatta Local Court on Tuesday 28 September.