A woman accused of deliberately coughing on people in a Cooma shopping street on Wednesday has been sent to hospital for a mental health assessment after allegedly breaching new public health legislation imposed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jerrabomberra woman Kiri Windshuttle fronted Wollongong Local Court, via audiovisual link due to closures of smaller courts, however, continually talked over Magistrate Jillian Kiely.
Magistrate Kiely said the 41-year-old woman, who was wearing a mask, was not able to follow along with court proceedings nor make a formal bail application, and were therefore sent to hospital for assessment.
Windshuttle was charged with not complying with a Public Health Act direction and two counts of stalk/intimidate intend to cause fear physical harm.
NSW police have new powers that allow officers to issue fines up to $11,000 and/or six months' jail for those outside their house without a good reason, or for breaking the social gathering restrictions.
Police allege Windshuttle was walking south along Sharp Street about 9.20am when she allegedly intentionally coughed on four people, an action police documents tendered to court said caused them "considerable alarm and potential harm".
Police allege Winshuttle left a rubbish bin in a shopping centre and "drastically deviated" into the path of a woman and coughed towards her, making no attempt to cover her mouth, prompting the woman to step away.
Police facts said Windshuttle's demeanour, which was captured on surveillance footage, appeared "confrontational or aggressive".
Windhshuttle then allegedly veered into a path of a passing man, close enough to tough his elbow, and coughed whilst not covering her mouth.
Windshuttle then allegedly continued on her path towards a woman and child coughing, prompting the woman to pull the child into her body.
The man called police, and washed his hands and face, telling officers he felt at risk of potentially contracting COVID-19.
After conducting patrols, police officers located Windshuttle, who while speaking with police allegedly coughed into tissues.
She told them she was camping at Numeralla Rest Area, and when asked whether she knew about the ministerial health directions, she said "I know about it because I was going to check my account for the government payments".
Police allege Windhsuttle had been aimlessly walking around the shopping area and had not bought any items when stopped by police; and had no valid reason for being at the location and was contravening a Public Health Order.
She was taken to Cooma Police station and charged.
Windshuttle's case was not formally adjourned as it hinges on the outcome of the mental health assessment report.
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