Thomas Hammant leaves court after pleading guilty to making a false and misleading statement to an emergency officer, relating to him trying to sneak a friend into Queensland from a NSW coronavirus hotspot.
Thomas Hammant leaves court after pleading guilty to making a false and misleading statement to an emergency officer, relating to him trying to sneak a friend into Queensland from a NSW coronavirus hotspot.

‘Wake up’: Magistrate slams COVID smuggling attempt

A MAN who tried to smuggle his friend into Queensland from a NSW coronavirus hotspot has been slammed in court for potentially putting public health at risk.

Thomas Hammant secreted his mate under luggage and a blanket in the rear of his small Ford Fiesta hatch, Ipswich Magistrates Court heard on Thursday.

Queensland Transport and police who were checking drivers at the border became suspicious and went in for a closer look.

Magistrate Andy Cridland took issue with Hammant’s apparent indifference to the situation when he faced court this week.

“You need to take stock of yourself. You come across as a person with no regard to anyone,” Mr Cridland said.

“It is extremely serious.”

Thomas Jake Hammant, 20, pleaded guilty to making false and misleading statements to an emergency officer at Wallangarra on July 21, 2020.

The maximum penalty for the offence is a $13,345 fine.

Thomas Hammant leaves court after pleading guilty to making a false and misleading statement to an emergency officer, relating to him trying to sneak a friend into Queensland from a NSW coronavirus hotspot.
Thomas Hammant leaves court after pleading guilty to making a false and misleading statement to an emergency officer, relating to him trying to sneak a friend into Queensland from a NSW coronavirus hotspot.

Prosecutor senior Constable Bridie O’Shea said Queensland Transport officers were at the border on the New England Highway when Hammant arrived at 8pm in a white Ford Fiesta.

“The rear seat was oddly packed. He repeatedly said there was no one else,” Snr Const. O’Shea said.

“Even when officers said they would search his car he maintained there was no one there.

“A male was found hiding in the rear seat under a blanket, under luggage.”

Snr Constable O’Shea said it was later determined that the hidden passenger had been in a declared NSW hot spot and would have been refused entry if he applied.

“It was an attempt to smuggle a person who would be denied entry,” she said.

Mr Cridland asked Hammant if he accepted that was what happened.

“Yes your honour,” he said.

“Anything to say,” inquired Mr Cridland.

“Nothing,” Hammant said.

“What do you do,” said Mr Cridland.

“Nothing,” Hammant said.

“How do you survive?” Mr Cridand asked.

“Easy”, Hammant responded.

“Accepting that a person needs to eat what funding do you have,” Mr Cridland asked.

“Centrelink,” Hammant said.

“Mr Hammant these laws – directives – are put in place and have the interest of the whole community at heart in trying to safeguard the health of the whole community,” Mr Cridland said.

“You are a young man, still 20. It is time that you woke up and took some responsibility.”

Hammant was fined $1335.50 with no conviction recorded. He had no previous history.



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