Coffs Harbour Man Fined $550 For Coronavirus “Prank” in Police Station

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At a time when social distancing fines are $1000, a Coffs Harbour man has been fined just $550 and given a Community Corrections Order for 2 years after coughing in the Coffs Harbour Police Station and claiming to have Coronavirus.

Following a plea of guilty, 21 year old William West sobbed in Coffs Harbour Local Court during sentencing on Tuesday.

On March 24, Mr West entered the Coffs Harbour Police Station, deliberately coughing while speaking to a 71 year old female staff member, claiming he had Coronavirus.

The entire incident was filmed and uploaded to Mr West’s social media platform, but was later removed.

As the footage was played in the courtroom, Mr West sat with his head in his hands, shaking his head.

In tears, the 21 year old listened as Magistrate Rodgers gave his summary.

“Today I’ve been handed a letter from Mr West to show his remorse, I can only take that on face value”, Magistrate Rodgers said.

“The sentence has to denounce Mr West, but also help with his rehabilitation”.

“It was never, in reality, a prank or a joke, but a serious crime”, Magistrate Rodgers said regarding Mr West’s actions on March 24.

The magistrate said the filming of the act was a sign of previous thought, and that sharing it meant he wanted to relive it, describing it as “repulsive behaviour” and “a level of bragging”.

Mr West stood silently as Magistrate Rodgers handed down his sentence.

Along with the fine, Mr West was also sentenced to 200 hours of community service, and a 15 month Intensive Corrections Order for other matters.

The female staff member has since returned to work, after being on leave for 6 weeks due to the incident.

19 May 2020

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