16 August 2021

Gym-goer accused of refusing COVID-19 test

| Albert McKnight
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Sign warning Canberrans about new mask requirements

Joshua Malachi James Montgomery has been denied bail after being accused of breaching COVID-19 restrictions. Photo: Region Media.

A young man has been charged with breaching coronavirus rules on Sunday (15 August), three days after the ACT’s lockdown was first announced.

On Monday (16 August), the ACT Magistrates Court heard Joshua Malachi James Montgomery, aged in his 20s, was in COVID-19 quarantine, so he appeared in court via phone.

His Legal Aid lawyer, Ms West, applied for him to be released on bail, which was opposed by the prosecutor, Ms Lee, partly over concerns he could endanger the safety of other people.

Ms Lee said Montgomery was a contact at a Club Lime exposure site.

By Monday afternoon, ACT Health announced two gyms – at Bradley Street, Phillip and the Canberra International Sports and Aquatic Centre, Bruce – had been assessed as close contact sites requiring quarantining and testing.

READ ALSO Possible ‘sovereign citizen’ allegedly refused to follow COVID-19 rules

Ms Lee said Montgomery’s neighbours alleged they saw him “coming and going” over the weekend, despite the lockdown restricting Canberrans’ movements, and also claimed to have seen him outside without a mask.

She said he had refused to get tested for the virus and had ignored texts from ACT Health telling him to isolate.

Ms West said the lockdown was an evolving situation that took some time for people to get used to, and her client was now on notice that police and the courts were taking breaches of the restrictions seriously.

READ ALSO Proud Ken Behrens: Canberrans embrace the lighter side of COVID lockdowns

However, Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker said breaches of the restrictions could have very significant ramifications for the community, and Montgomery’s attitudes to the health orders were highly concerning.

She refused bail, remanding him in custody to 6 September for a plea.

He has been charged with failing to comply with a direction without a reasonable excuse, as well as burglary and theft.

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