Like most of the world, we Australians are weary of the COVID-19 virus restrictions. However, some restrictions may be in force for approximately six more months, with scheduled endings in 2021.
Reports are swirling about claiming that Western Australia is planning on maintaining its hard border closing until April of 2021. While the truth of the statement may still need to be proven or dismissed, the strict rules regarding entry into WA and subsequent quarantining at the visitor’s expense are still in force.
Here at Lawson Legal, we want you to know that we are here ready to serve as your defence counsel if the need arises. These are bewildering times, and it is easy to become confused about quarantine regulations. This is why knowing about a good legal advocate can be a huge advantage for most anyone.
What often happens is that people are not trying to disregard the new precautionary laws openly, they choose the path that seems smoothest. Unfortunately, that path is not always the right choice.
A Recent Example:
In August 2020, Asher Vander Sanden, 28, hid and crossed the border into WA defying the state’s hard border policy. The Perth woman had spent a month in Victoria visiting her sister. Although Vander Sanden had legal clearance to return to WA, she wanted to avoid a forced quarantine in a hotel for 14 days at her own expense.
Instead of flying in, as planned, Vander Sanden crossed the border hiding in a car hauled by a truck. Once in WA, Vander Sanden stayed for ten-days (until her arrest) in what she called a self-quarantine with her boyfriend in Scarborough.
Authorities arrested Vander Sanden and held her in quarantine. State and local authorities were quick to condemn Vander Sanden’s actions calling her behaviour selfish, deceitful, and dishonest. Magistrate Andrew Matthews sentenced Vander Sanden to a six-month jail term but also back-dated the sentence to the date of her arrest. Additionally, Magistrate Matthews made Vander Sanden eligible for parole.
In a more recent turn of events, in this case, Asher Vander Sanden filed and won an appeal against her six-month jail sentence. Appearing before Justice Jenni Hill, Vander Sanden’s legal counsel highlighted other instances in which a ‘mid-level crime’ received much lighter consequences. Additionally, the court heard how Vander Sanden had, indeed, quarantined in Scarborough as opposed to going from place to place.
During the court proceedings, Justice Hill said she had a difficult time understanding the sentence of immediate imprisonment. Also, the Justice explained that she thought Vander Sanden’s punishment was “plainly unjust and unreasonable” citing time served, her guilty plea, and the Perth woman’s personal circumstances.
Justice Hill reduced the sentence to 50-hours of community service with no additional jail time ordered. This case will likely be the standard by which other breaches of quarantine cases will be measured.
As time goes on and strong restrictions remain in place in WA, there is a likelihood that infractions will increase. Here at Lawson Legal, we want to help simplify the often-confusing regulations and help you if you have made a misstep or two while navigating these unusual circumstances.
What is the Present Situation Regarding Entering Western Australia?
At this time, Western Australia has a hard border crossing policy. Additionally, restrictions are in place, limiting movement of those who enter the state, including a quarantine period.
Who May Cross Into Western Australia Under the Hard Border Crossing Rule?
There are several circumstances when a person may have permission to cross into WA while the hard border restrictions remain. These include:
• Active members of the military
• Emergency workers
• Entering on compassionate grounds
• Judicial officers
• Persons who must enter or face extreme hardship
• Persons with unique skills not found in WA
• Senior government officials
Generally, quarantining for 14-days is a requirement for exemption from border restrictions.
*PLEASE NOTE* The material in this blog post is for informational use only and should not be construed as legal advice. For answers to your questions regarding this or other topics, please contact a professional legal representative.