A 33-year-old man has been jailed after he breached the COVID border blockade by using the beach to cross from New South Wales on foot.
A 33-year-old man has been jailed after he breached the COVID border blockade by using the beach to cross from New South Wales on foot.

Walking border dodger jailed for beach breach

A man has been jailed after he used the beach to cross the Queensland border which was closed due COVID-19.

Christopher James Warnock, 33, appeared via video link in Brisbane Magistrates Court this morning.

The court heard Warnock had just been released from jail in NSW when he made the beach crossing on foot at Coolangatta on August 14 to return home.

He pleaded guilty to failing to comply with a COVID-19 public health direction namely entering Queensland from a coronavirus hotspot.

Chris Warnock has been jailed after he used the beach to cross the Queensland border which was closed due COVID-19. Picture: Facebook
Chris Warnock has been jailed after he used the beach to cross the Queensland border which was closed due COVID-19. Picture: Facebook

At the time people in NSW were barred from entering the Sunshine State.

Police prosecutor Ben Michell said it was a serious offence given Warnock's history of breaching orders.

At the time of the offence Warnock was on parole in NSW and was subject to a suspended sentence in Queensland for failing to appear.

He had been jailed for 11 months in NSW after he crashed through a golf course at nearly 200km/h while high on drugs, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Warnock's Legal Aid lawyer said her client had been released from custody in NSW on August 2 when he committed the coronavirus breach.

"He was just trying to get home to his family," she said.

The court heard his Queensland based mother was very ill and required care.

She said Warnock had suffered a lot of trauma in his life including the deaths of his father and brother which led to drug use.

Warnock also pleaded guilty to 11 unrelated offences including wilful damage (domestic violence), fraud, obstructing police and driving offences.

The court heard Warnock committed several petrol drive-offs and when confronted by police was "belligerent and obstructive" before driving off.

Magistrate Belinda Merrin noted Warnock's problems with the drug ice.

She sentenced him to four months jail for wilful damage - which involved Warnock slashing the tyres of his former partner's car which was being driven by her new man.

He was sentenced to one month's jail for the COVID-19 breach.

Taking into account the 80 days Warnock had already spent in custody under harsh lockdown restrictions she released him immediately on parole.

Originally published as Walking border dodger jailed for beach breach


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