$250 fine for midnight lockdown breach

A Dunedin man who breached the autumn lockdown by engaging in non-essential travel was being driven to his girlfriend’s property just after midnight.

Cooper Drew-Percy Taylor (24), who had been warned five days earlier about non-essential travel, was in a vehicle stopped by police at 12.15am on April 13, about 30km from his Port Chalmers home, the Dunedin District Court was told yesterday.

The situation at Taylor’s own residence had soured, counsel Karlena Lawrence said at yesterday’s sentencing.

He was fined $250 for the lockdown breach.

Judge Stephen Harrop said Taylor was on a curfew for three months while awaiting his sentence, or the fine would have been larger.

Taylor, whose occupation was not listed on court documents, had put at risk New Zealand’s efforts to stop Covid-19 from spreading, the judge said.

‘‘There was considerable anxiety in the community at the time,’’ Judge Harrop said.

Other New Zealanders put up with inconvenience associated with restrictions but Taylor had been warned for breaching the lockdown and did it again just five days later, he said.

Taylor told police he was being taken to his girlfriend’s property in Mosgiel.

The country was in the Alert Level 4 lockdown during April and only travel deemed essential was permitted.

Limits were imposed on the extent to which people could interact — they were required to stay within confines known as ‘‘bubbles’’.

Ms Lawrence said the offence did not involve interacting with multiple bubbles.

Taylor was also sentenced yesterday for driving on February 20 while his licence was suspended.

He was disqualified from driving for six months, resulting in the length of time he cannot drive being extended to 11 months. 

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