Teenage children harassed since breach of lockdown charge laid, mum tells court

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A woman accused of flouting Covid-19 restrictions by travelling to Auckland the same weekend as an anti-lockdown protest says her family has faced harassment since she was charged.

Taihape courthouse

The accused woman has appeared in the Taihape District Court. Photo: RNZ / Jimmy Ellingham

The woman, who is 52, appeared in the Taihape District Court today, where she pleaded not guilty to a charge of breaching an order issued under the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act.

She and two other women are accused of crossing into Auckland’s level 3 boundary on 16 October, the same day as a large rally was held at the city’s domain.

Representing herself, the Taihape woman told Judge Lance Rowe her teenagers had been harassed in their workplace, because of the charge she faced.

“People have been in there asking that they be removed from their work. That’s how the town has reacted. It’s harassment.”

She said she didn’t understand how she and the other two failed to comply with an order when they did not know about the charge or the law.

The woman was tearful when reading a letter to the judge, in which she said: “I have not committed a crime that I am aware of.”

She said police officers at the border let the women through to Auckland and out again.

A convoy of hundreds was following, and many others crossed the boundary.

“As far as my understanding is, they [police] are the law, there to serve us, the people, therefore, to my understanding, the law let us through the border, both ways.

“I asked that you consider this fact, that myself and two others have been wrongly charged and arrested, when we were allowed to go through the border.”

The woman said she was not sure if anyone else in New Zealand would have been aware of the rules or the law they were accused of breaching.

She requested continued name suppression, citing the harassment of her family and the effect naming her would have on her husband’s business.

A second woman, of Taihape, aged 53, also pleaded guilty to the same charge.

They and the third woman, of Ohakune, aged 50, will appear for an administrative hearing next year. A hearing about name suppression is scheduled for next month.

Judge Rowe told the two women who appeared continued name suppression should not be taken for granted.

If convicted the women face fines of up to $4000 or six months in jail.

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