The skipper of a superyacht that sailed into Queensland from Victoria has defended his wealthy employer, saying they had nothing to do with the trail of lies used to get an exemption to cross the border.
Greg Numa, 64, has pleaded guilty in the Southport Magistrates Court to providing false and misleading statements to an emergency officer under the Public Health Act and been fined $4500.
The Lady Pamela, which is owned by Victorian millionaire Mark Simonds, left Melbourne on August 9 for a 15-day voyage with seven people on board, including Mr Numa, Mr Simonds and his wife Cheryl, their son Vallance and his girlfriend, Hannah Fox.
Police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Damian Summerfield said 83 emails had been exchanged between Mr Numa and a Maritime Safety Queensland officer as part of an application for exemption from the chief health officer.
A day after the group docked at Gold Coast City Marina, the exemption was revoked and all seven were ordered into hotel quarantine, which ended on Tuesday.
The court heard the Lady Pamela stopped at three locations along the NSW coast, a coronavirus hotspot, where Mr Numa, Mr and Mrs Simonds and others were seen leaving the yacht.
Senior Sergeant Summerfield said Mr Numa, in multiple emails, claimed no one had disembarked, and in one email exchange said: “We have had no contact with the outside world.”
“The integrity of the Fox family and the Simonds family remains. They had absolutely nothing to do with my decision,” Mr Numa said outside court.
“That was my decision and basically that winds it up.”
“I want to thank Queensland Health, the Queensland Government, MSQ, the Queensland Police – they do an amazing job with dealing with people like myself who stepped over the line on this occasion.
“I regret that and I’ve paid the price today.”
Magistrate Grace Kahlert said it was a serious offence because of the risk to the community of coronavirus and that the sentence must denounce the conduct and deter others from doing the same.
A conviction was not recorded.