Alleged absconder ‘the nicest guy ever’

Martin McVicar
Martin McVicar
A Queenstown woman says she warned the man who fled a Hamilton isolation hotel to visit a liquor store not to do it.

That man, Martin James McVicar (52), has been remanded in custody after appearing before community magistrate Robyn Paterson in the Hamilton District Court yesterday. He was charged over a failure to comply with isolation requirements.

When spoken to by the Otago Daily Times, Cory McVicar said she was surprised by the news.

Although she would not disclose her relationship to Martin McVicar, it is understood she is his daughter.

"This is the first I have heard of it [the alleged incident]. He’s the nicest guy ever; he wouldn’t have done this intentionally."

She expressed some doubts about the facts of the case but said she had spoken to McVicar earlier in the week and "I told him not to do it".

McVicar was arrested after he allegedly cut through fence ties to break out of a managed isolation facility on Thursday. He allegedly absconded from the Distinction Hotel and went to a nearby liquor store, picking beer and wine before leaving.

The man has twice tested negative for Covid-19, first in a test taken on day three of his isolation period, and again yesterday.

Ms McVicar also said it was unfair McVicar had been named.

"He’s lived here for a long time. He’s not some tourist, he has business here; this is going to be really very damaging.

"Queenstown is a small town and people don’t need s... about them in the paper."

She said conditions in the isolation hotel were tough.

"You don’t understand what it is like. They are not allowed to leave their rooms, there are guards in the hallways.

"He wouldn’t hurt anyone. This is a frustrating and stressful time for everyone."

McVicar faces one count of intentionally failing to comply with an order under the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 by leaving a managed isolation facility and buying alcohol.

He also faces an intentional damage charge relating to a 52-inch television belonging to the Distinction Hotel.

McVicar will reappear in court on July 15.

— additional reporting The New Zealand Herald


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Why was this man named? Where's the information on the other people that have escaped? Kiwi shaming Kiwi's. sad..

He deserves to be shamed for such a selfish and arrogant act. I am totally in favour of all of these criminals being named and shamed.

Didn’t do this intentionally? What was he sleep walking? He discussed it on the phone and cit a fence, pretty much intentional! A really nice guy wouldn’t hurt anyone? He smashed up hotel property and put community at risk of virus and cost the tax payer $ for clean up, business cLosure, police time etc etc.. (I do hope he is charged for all and being a business owner himself I’m sure will understand) .Sorry, your loyalty is admirable but misplaced.

He is 52, that makes him entirely responsible for committing to these actions. He knew the rules and he cannot be unaware of New Zealand's sacrifices or the seriousness of the pandemic. This country endured lock down to eliminate the virus at great cost, so two weeks, paid for by us, in a hotel is not that big an ask.

While naming him may be harsh he shouldn't have done what he did. It is what it is. Suck it up. Would he have done it if he was quarantined in Brazil? Take some personal responsibility.

So... He wouldn't have done it intentionally, yet he was warned not to do it. Right.
He wouldn't harm anyone, yet he was prepared to risk exposing the community to Covid19 infection. Right.
His reputation and business could be harmed by being named. Let's hope so. Let's also hope a conviction impedes his right to travel internationally in the futureas well. Justice might be served.
This guy deserves everything he gets.

There can be no basis for sympathy for this 'nice guy'. He has been everything but nice to 5 million New Zealanders. He should pay for all costs involved--cleaning, sifting through where he has been and all other damage. Why are the rest of these 'break-out' people not named? They did not just wander off site--we deserve to know just who the criminals are.

They should release the names of everyone who busts out of quarantine, and they should hit them with far bigger punishments than they're currently getting, what's a 4000 fine or six months in jail as a maximum sentence? you can bet they're not going to even get that. It cost some people in OZ $26,000 as they left their lockdown to get some KFC, and these people weren't in a quarantine facility, just part of the entire population of Melbourne locked down. The punishment we are giving is pitiful, throw the book at these clowns as they're endangering the lifes of many thousands of people, and they risk destroying our economy if there is another outbreak. The punishment does not fit the crime.

This sympathy plea is annoying. How can you justify someone breaking a quarantine for a virus that has taken over the planet?

I hope he, and every other such 'escapee' get a massive fine and or a bit of jail time, to show them - and others thinking about escaping - that this needs to be taken seriously.

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