31 March 2022

Fine for COVID-positive man who left isolation 'has to hurt your hip pocket'

| Albert McKnight
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ACT Law Courts

Paul Steven Fleury, 56, was charged with failing to comply with a direction without a reasonable excuse. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

A man has been fined for not isolating after testing positive for COVID-19 during last year’s lockdown in Canberra.

Court documents say on 15 September 2021, ACT Health learned Paul Steven Fleury had tested positive for the coronavirus, which meant that due to the laws of the time, he had to isolate for two weeks at his home in Watson.

ACT Health tried to contact him over the next three days but didn’t hear back so they asked police to go to his home and check on him.

Police arrived on 18 September, but Fleury didn’t answer the door. They went inside, concerned he could be at risk of harm as he had the virus, but they couldn’t find him.

However, he was home when they returned the next day.

In the ACT Magistrates Court on Wednesday (30 March), Special Magistrate Margaret Hunter told the 56-year-old it was a “serious offence” in her view.

“While now we know a lot more about the disease, at that time, we didn’t,” she said.

READ ALSO Burglar who stole $30,000-worth of items arrested for breaching COVID rules

While he apparently didn’t remember what he was doing that day, she told him, “you certainly weren’t doing what you were supposed to be doing”.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to comply with a direction without a reasonable excuse and was convicted and fined $400.

Special Magistrate Hunter told him, “it has to hurt your hip pocket in some way”.

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