A 21-year-old who breached Sydney’s lockdown, partied in Newcastle and sparked a months-long lockdown in regional NSW has been convicted and fined $4000.
Sulafa Ageeb Ageeb, 21, tested positive to COVID-19 after spending several days shopping and partying in Newcastle in late July.
A significant number of COVID-19-infected people in the Hunter region appear to be directly linked to the movements of Ageeb and her friend, Rooty Hill woman Josephine Lado, police said in court documents accepted by the women.
Sulafa Ageeb Ageeb, 21, (pictured) tested positive to COVID-19 after spending several days shopping and partying in Newcastle in late July
The infections led to a months-long lockdown for Newcastle and surrounding communities, home to 650,000 people.
‘The consequences of your actions were quite significant,’ Hornsby magistrate Robyn Denes said on Wednesday.
‘A lot of people think ‘nothing will happen and I won’t get caught.’
‘You did (get caught) – and it actually led to significant issues for Newcastle.’
The magistrate was looking at placing Ageeb on a community corrections order, mandating good behaviour and another condition for a set period of time.
But, upon hearing another magistrate had convicted and fined Lado $4000 for relatively similar offending, Ms Denes said there was an issue of parity ‘so you don’t feel you’ve been treated more harshly’.
Ageeb’s early guilty plea also entitled her to significant leniency, while the court noted ‘some’ extra curial punishment had come in the way the case had been portrayed.
The young woman currently living in Parramatta with a friend was set to begin a full-time job in insurance next week, her lawyer said.
Ageeb and Lado both pleaded at the earliest occasion to failing to comply with a COVID-19 health order and failing to comply with COVID check-in requirements.
Each had failed to check in at the numerous venues they visited with two friends, including a nail salon in Newcastle’s largest shopping complex.
They also went to a house party in Shortland on July 29.
When police were alerted to the party about 1.45am on July 30, they saw ‘numerous’ people run into a parked car and found the offenders in the back seat pretending to sleep.
Police said the pair undertook a ‘calculated and concerted effort’ to alter check-in and address data in their Service NSW app.
Ordered to return home and told to expect $1000 fines in the mail, Ageeb and Lado instead remained in Newcastle for a further night.
First up was a large party at Blacksmiths Beach in Lake Macquarie before heading back to the Shortland home for another party, which police say was attended by ‘numerous’ others.
They caught a train home on July 31.
Positive cases in the region related to the women were uncovered on August 5, sparking an immediate lockdown.
Ageeb declined to comment outside court.