Fremantle AFL player Jesse Hogan has been fined for breaching WA’s strict COVID-19 quarantine laws after “he fell into a trap because of the attraction of a young lady” whom he invited into his home when he should have been self-isolating.
Hogan, 25, on Tuesday pleaded guilty to breaching the laws only hours after he arrived back in Western Australia last month from the AFL hub in Queensland where the Fremantle Dockers were based for the last three rounds of the season.
The Fremantle Magistrates Court was told Hogan invited the unidentified woman to his house via text message and told her not to park in the driveway, to avoid looking like he had visitors.
The police prosecutor said there was a disagreement and the woman left, but she later returned and stayed the night.
Police attended Hogan’s home the next day and he admitted what had happened before being taken to a Perth hotel to complete the rest of his mandatory quarantine, which expired on October 5.
Lawyer blames lapse of judgement
His lawyer Terry Dobson submitted that the breach was at the lower end of the scale and said it happened when there had been more than 150 days of no community transmission in WA.
He said Hogan had travelled from a state that was not a COVID-19 hotspot and he had been in a hub that was “almost like a prison-type environment”, where he and his team mates were tested for coronavirus “non-stop.”
Mr Dobson also said Hogan had been in lockdown for months and had not been with a woman, prompting Magistrate Adam Hills-Wright to ask “he couldn’t wait 13 extra days?”
Mr Dobson described his client as “still fairly youthful” and what he did was a “lapse of judgement.”
“He fell into a trap because of the attraction of a young lady,” Mr Hogan said.
Hogan was originally facing two charges but one of them was dropped at the start of proceedings.
Mr Dobson said the second charge had related to the woman leaving the house but she was only gone for no more than two minutes because Hogan realised she was “trashed” and not fit to drive.
“He did the right thing by the community while doing the wrong thing by the community,” the lawyer said.
Mr Dobson applied for Hogan to be granted a spent conviction order, which would have meant the offence would not be recorded against him.
He said one of the reasons for the application was “problems looming in terms of Hogan’s employment” and the prospect that he “might end up living out his life in a rugby state where he would never be known.”
“Underlying this is he’s a good bloke,” Mr Dobson said.
But the application was refused by Magistrate Hills-Wright, who said it would not be in the public interest to grant the order.
“There needs to be a message of general deterrence to those who decide knowingly to breach the State of Emergency Act,” he said.
He accepted that Hogan had been subject to public scrutiny and that his actions had brought some shame to his club, but he said he must have been aware that what he was doing was wrong.
The magistrate fined Hogan $8000 and ordered him to pay almost $250 in court costs.
Hogan made no comment as he left the courthouse.