All charges against three New South Wales residents who flew to Coober Pedy in a private jet despite COVID-19 border restrictions, and later engaged in karaoke, have been dropped.
Most important points:
- The three NSW residents flew into Coober Pedy in June, before flying over Uluru. flew
- One of the group claimed they were confused about the rules of the state borders
- The prosecution has dropped all charges against them
Amelia Johnson, 39, Elizabeth Nichols, 21, and Thomas St Hill, 27, appeared today via video link in Port Augusta Magistrates Court.
The prosecutor told the court that the case had been resolved by treating the trio “in a different way”, but did not elaborate on the matter.
The trio documented their trip to SA on social media.
After the three were arrested, SA police said they flew from Griffith to Coober Pedy in a private jet on Thursday, June 24 – a day after South Australia closed its borders most of NSW amid the coronavirus outbreak in the eastern state.
After landing in Coober Pedy, they flew over Uluru and attempted to disembark in the Northern Territory, but were denied entry by officials, who notified SA police.
They then returned to Coober Pedy, where they were found by police in the early morning of June 25 at a karaoke night.
Group testing initially showed a positive result for COVID-19, but later tests revealed it to be a false positive.
During a stopover in Broken Hill on the way home, Mr St Hill claimed they were confused about the boundary rules.
“In the end, everyone is safe and we haven’t negatively impacted anyone,” he said.
“Local communities are vulnerable and we’re out of there now and it is what it is.
“If we had known we were doing something wrong, we would have left immediately.”