World news – « Bitter Regrets »: COVID Border Dodger pleads guilty


A woman pleaded guilty in breach of a COVID-19 health policy in relation to her intergovernmental movements at Brisbane Airport.

Haja Uma Timbo, 21, pleaded guilty to violating an instruction to declare that she was in a COVID hotspot when applying for a border pass at Brisbane Airport on July 21.

The charges of fraud and submission of false or misleading documents were withdrawn by the prosecutor in the Brisbane Magistrates Court. Her co-defendant Diana Lasu, 21, is also due to appear in court today.

The court heard that Timbo flew from Melbourne to Brisbane on July 22, after spending four nights in the southern capital attending a party. One of her friends she was with in Melbourne tested positive for COVID on July 22, after returning to Queensland the day before.

Court chief Timbo went online to secure a border pass to return to Queensland and did not explain that she had been at a COVID hotspot for the past 14 days, which meant she bypassed the mandatory quarantine.

Prosecutor Sgt. Lisa Pye said when two of Timbo’s travel companions signed COVID, it became known as the first and second Logan clusters.

As a result of the Logan Cluster in Queensland, the number of tests by members of the community increased « overnight » by 42 percent.

Sgt. Pye said the cost of examining the cluster was significant, with the increase in testing costing tens of thousands of dollars alone.

Timbo’s attorney said Rebecca Fogerty said her client never went to the community after returning to Brisbane after quarantining himself before being later placed in hotel quarantine by police.

She asked the court to get media attention and the ensuing public « opprobrium » acted on her clients as an additional curial punishment designed to reduce the court’s sentence.

« Denunciation has been accomplished in the most public and humiliating way, and that has served as a deterrent, » she said.

« If what she’s been through in the past nine months doesn’t atone for what it is, I don’t know what it is. »

« She’s notorious. It’s an experience she bitterly regrets. And an experience that changed her forever, » she said.

The offense was motivated by financial constraints related to hotel quarantine costs, she said.


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