New COVID Laws: $5,000 On-The-Spot Fines for Spitting or Coughing at Police or Health Care Workers in NSW

 

There’s been unsettling trends of COVID19 assaults particularly against police and healthcare workers since the pandemic hit our communities.

In response, legislation has now been passed to tackle the issue with very big fines of up to $5,000 on-the-spot.

It is reported that two men in NSW have allegedly spat at NSW police officers.

The first incident allegedly occurred last Friday in southwest Sydney when a 24-year-old man allegedly spat at a male police officer after the officer had directed him to move on from a carpark.

When the officer arrested him, the 24-year-old man spat at the officer and mentioning Coronavirus.

He was slapped with a $5,000 fine and was charged. He appeared before the Parramatta bail weekend bail court on Saturday.

The second incident occurred on Friday afternoon when a 62-year-old man from Hunter, NSW allegedly spat at a female police officer.

It’s reported that the 62-year-old man spat at a female police officer.

It is alleged that the 62-year-old man approached the police officers at a time when police were arresting another male over domestic violence matter.

He was also fined $5,000 and charged for assault and resist police arrest charges. He appeared before the Newcastle Bail court on the weekend.

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner, Karen Webb has said, “Spitting or coughing at public officials is disgusting and against the law- It’s disgusting at any time particularly during COVID19.”

Under new laws in NSW, there is now $5,000 on-the-spot fines for intentionally spitting or coughing on a public official such as police or healthcare workers in a way that’s likely to cause fear about the spread of COVID19.

The new law is made by the Public Health Amendment (COVID-19 Spitting and Coughing) Regulation 2020 (NSW), by Minister for Health and Medical Research, Brad Hazzard, MP.

Anyone caught spitting or coughing at police or healthcare worker intentionally, and in a way likely to cause fear about spreading the virus can court-elect the $5,000 infringement notice.

Paying the fine will result in no criminal conviction against the offenders’ name.

If electing to have it heard before a Court, the person will then be subject to heavier penalties of up to $11,000 fine and/or six months imprisonment  as well as a criminal conviction under section 10 Public Health Act 2010 (NSW).

However, the Court also has the option of imposing a non-conviction type of sentence/penalty, even after pleading guilty in court.

A non-conviction penalty sentence includes either a Conditional Release Order without conviction or section 10 dismissal.

Just like all penalty notices (infringement notices), upon court-electing the $5,000 fine, the court will require you to either plead ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’ to it.

For more information on these laws and penalties, call our friendly team to speak with our experienced Sydney criminal lawyers today.

About Jimmy Singh

Mr. Jimmy Singh is the Principal Lawyer at Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia - Leading Criminal Lawyers in Sydney, Delivering Exceptional Results in all Australian Criminal Courts.

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