29 August 2021

Three arrested on same day after allegedly breaking COVID-19 restrictions

| Albert McKnight
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Three people appeared in the ACT Magistrates Courts on Friday after being charged over allegedly breaking COVID restrictions. Photo: File.

Three different people who allegedly breached Canberra’s COVID-19 restrictions were arrested on the same day.

Mathew James Longmore, 26, and Tori Jayne Barbra Ford, 28, are being held in custody before their court appearance, while the third person, a 26-year-old from Amaroo, was taken to hospital for a mental health assessment.

All three face charges of failing to comply with a direction without a reasonable excuse after allegedly breaking coronavirus restrictions. If convicted, the offence carries fines of $8000, in addition to other charges.

Mr Longmore, from Hume, and Ms Ford, from Richardson, face other charges as well. ACT Policing alleged they stole a blue Nissan Pulsar from a home in Bonython and drove away from a service station in Hume without paying for fuel before trespassing in a Hackett home on Thursday (26 August).

The duo was arrested at the Chisholm shopping centre later that day.

Neither applied to be released on bail when they appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court on Friday (27 August).

READ ALSO Gym-goer accused of refusing COVID-19 test

Magistrate Beth Campbell remanded them in custody with Ms Ford to next appear in court on 3 September and Mr Longmore on 10 September.

In addition to their charges of allegedly breaking COVID-19 restrictions, Ms Ford was charged with riding in a car without consent and trespass, while Mr Longmore was charged with driving a car without consent, trespass, making off without payment and minor theft.

The third person, the 26-year-old Amaroo man, was arrested over two alleged incidents earlier this month.

Police allege the man was armed with a knife when he went into a pharmacy at Amaroo at about 7:20 pm on 1 August and demanded medication. They said staff complied and he left, riding away on a bicycle.

Police alleged he entered an Amaroo pharmacy again at about 11:00 am on 7 August. On this occasion, he again demanded medication while armed with a knife.

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

Staff did as he allegedly asked and he again left on a bicycle.

He was arrested at a home in Amaroo on Thursday (26 August) and charged with aggravated robbery in addition to two charges of breaking restrictions.

In the Magistrates Court on Friday, the man’s lawyer, Tim Sharman from Tim Sharman Solicitors, said he had concerns for his client’s health, saying while there may be an issue with drug use or mental impairment, it was appropriate to look at the mental health aspect first.

Magistrate Campbell said the man would be taken to hospital for a mental health assessment.

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