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New Zealand Police v Kuddus [2022] NZDC 13307

Published 22 September 2022

Sentencing — intentionally failing to comply with an order — breaching lockdown rules — COVID-19 — global pandemic — discharge without conviction — Sentencing Act 2002, ss 24(1)(b), 106 & 107 — COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020, s 11 — Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006, s 55 — COVID-19 Public Health Response Order 2021 — Taulapapa v R [2018] NZCA 414 — Maraj v Police [2016] NZCA 279 — Walker v Police [2016] NZHC 1450. The defendant appeared for sentence after pleading guilty to a charge of intentionally failing to comply with an order made under the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act. During New Zealand's 2021 Delta Variant lockdown, the defendant had crossed the boundary from an Alert Level 4 area to an Alert Level 2 area. He lacked any exemption that would have allowed him to do so. The defendant sought a discharge without conviction. The Court was unconvinced by the defendant's claims that he had not known that he was not permitted to cross the Alert Level boundary. There were no mitigating factors to the offending, but on a personal level the defendant had pleaded guilty and was of otherwise good character. The consequences of a conviction that the defendant identified were either speculative, unsupported by evidence, or natural consequences of offending. The Court therefore refused the application for a discharge without conviction, and ordered a fine of $900 as well as costs of $130. Judgment Date: 15 July 2022.