Prison time 'unfair': Isolation absconder

The mother jailed for absconding from a Hamilton isolation hotel says she spent the best part of seven days locked up in a cell on her own without a television.

"I was not put in a normal unit with other prisoners. I was actually isolated from other prisoners. I felt really alone, I didn't think it was fair," she said.

The woman said the prison authorities said she was put in an isolation cell because she had stated she was experiencing symptoms of Covid, but that was untrue.

She took a Covid test on the second day in jail and a negative result did not come back for four days when she was moved to a normal cell half a day before her release.

The woman, who with four of her children jumped a fence to escape the hotel facility because they wanted to see the children's father's body before his funeral, believes she has unfairly been made an example of.

She blames the Government for her predicament, and yesterday attended a protest of a few thousand people in central Auckland that took aim at the Government's use of lockdown and other Covid-19 restrictions.

The woman was due to speak at the rally alongside Advance Party co-leaders Jami-Lee Ross and Bill Te Kahika.

At the last minute she decided not to speak because of a court decision that means she cannot be named, to protect the identity of her children, two of whom are minors.

Her short speech, provided to The New Zealand Herald, lashed out at the "incompassionate Government" and its dishonest behaviour towards freedom, democracy and transparency.

The woman said there were other options to going to jail, saying she could have been fined or given community work.

She and three of her children, aged 18, 17 and 16, were jointly charged with failing to comply with an order under the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act 2020.

The family was accused of forcing their way through a window before scaling a fence.

Most were quickly apprehended near Hamilton's Distinction Hotel but one teenager among the group made it all the way to Auckland.

At the time, the mother took to social media and denied the move was "premeditated" in any way, and insisted she understood the health risk to the public and had worn a mask while on the loose.

"With how it has all turned out, I do have regrets. I now have a conviction ... it has taken a toll on my children. But in saying that, I also did not think it would get to this point," the mother said today.

The Herald is seeking comment from the Department of Corrections and Health Minister Chris Hipkins.

Comments

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Her actions had the potential to put everyone else in NZ at risk. Just because she tested negative, she did not know that she was not infected at the time of absconding. Hindsight is not and never has been the basis of any argument. It was her decision to take off, no one forced her. She only had to wait 1 more hour before a decision was to be made to allow her to visit the father of her children. I am not sympathetic toward her, especially after she agreed to stay in managed isolation. So many other people have managed to stay in self isolation and done so without complaining. She is the maker of her own misfortune.

And not to mention, supporting the Trumpian Billy TK & Jamie Lee-Ross, with QAnon supporting Covidiots. It's really, really hard to take her seriously

Absolutely no sympathy for this selfish criminal.
She has received far too light a sentence, why weren't her kids removed from her? Teaching them to break the law is almost as low as you can go as a parent.
I hope Australia refuses to let her back in.

I agree entirely.
That's one thing these losers haven't considered: the impact of a criminal conviction, including jail time, on her right to re-enter Australia, or travel freely anywhere in the world.

Oh, my heart bleeds for her.
It is selfish idiots like her that make it worse for the rest of us

Why are you even writing this. She is so damn self absorbed. Her selfish and self centered actions put people at risk, including her own children, and now she wants pity. None coming from me. In fact I would have liked her to serve longer. I assume we paid for her isolation as well. Ungrateful.

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