News Coronavirus Tas quarantine absconder appeals jail term
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Tas quarantine absconder appeals jail term

Tasmania COVID-19
Tasmania has recorded its highest daily COVID-19 figure since it reopened its border on December 15. Photo: AAP
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A NSW man who sparked a three-day lockdown across southern Tasmania after fleeing hotel quarantine is appealing his prison sentence for breaching public health orders and family violence offences.

Timothy Andrew Gunn was in December jailed for 10 months, with four months suspended, something his lawyers claim is “manifestly excessive”.

Snap stay-at-home restrictions were implemented on October 15 after Gunn left the Hobart Travelodge, spent time in the community and returned a positive COVID-19 test after being found by authorities.

Gunn appeared on Wednesday in the Supreme Court of Tasmania via video link.

His lawyer Pip Monk indicated some of the family violence order breaches occurred when Gunn contacted a “complicit” woman after being returned to hotel quarantine.

Ms Monk said the calls and messages occurred in the context of media attention.

“He didn’t really have anyone else in his corner at all,” she said.

“He was one of the most well-known and universally disliked people in Tasmania.”

Gunn had travelled through Melbourne from NSW, which was on Tasmania’s banned list at the time.

He lied about where he was travelling from and had previously been denied entry to the island state.

Ms Monk said Gunn’s actions and the lockdown should be viewed separately and if he travelled to Tasmania currently, he would be allowed entry.

She said Gunn had a “reasonably limited history of offending” in relation to the family violence breaches.

Lawyer representing the State of Tasmania, Emily Bill, said Gunn had called or messaged the woman 511 times in a period of about two weeks in late October.

She said Gunn had absconded to be with her and had shown a blatant disregard for family violence and public health orders.

His offending contact came to an end when detected by others, she said.

“At the time, a case in the community was of extraordinary public concern,” she said.

Ms Bill said a strong sentence was required and that the jail term was within a wide range of penalties available to the sentencing magistrate.

“Overwhelmingly everyone else abided by the law,” she said, arguing Gunn’s appeal should be dismissed.

Gunn was sentenced on 17 counts of breaching a nationally recognised family violence order, knowingly providing false information and failing to comply with the directions of an emergency management worker.

Justice Stephen Estcourt is expected to deliver his decision on Monday or Tuesday.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

– AAP