Whangārei man Jesse Courtney Welsh has been remanded in custody after a hearing by telephone connection in court for allegedly breaking into a Covid-19 managed isolation facility.

Welsh, 33 and a painter from Morningside, faces charges of failing to comply with a Covid-19 order and unlawfully being in an enclosed area at the Crowne Plaza on Albert St, in Auckland.

He allegedly forced his way through a fence into the Covid-19 managed facility last Friday and had a conversation with a person returned from overseas and in isolation.

In a brief hearing yesterday Whangārei court staff telephoned the Whangārei Police Station where Welsh was being held and could hear what was happening in court.


Judge Keith De Ridder said Welsh had the right to appear in person in court but due to the circumstances was unable to and he was also entitled to legal representation and to make a legal aid application.

Welsh will appear in the Whangārei District Court tomorrow.

It is alleged that after Welsh went into the facility he managed to return to Whangārei, 158km away, where he was arrested shortly after 10am on Saturday.

Head of managed isolation and quarantine Air Commodore Darryn Webb confirmed the man would be isolated as a precaution while the person he briefly spoke to at the facility had tested negative.

"The returnee involved tested negative at their day three test and health officials have determined the contact to be low risk. However, the member of the public who was arrested will be isolated as a precaution while the returnee's second test results are awaited."

MBIE confirmed yesterday the returnee's second test results were negative.

Webb said the Whangārei man breached security by allegedly forcing his way through the outer 1.8m fence and having brief contact with a returnee who was in the exercise area of the facility.

"Police on site witnessed the incident and took immediate action to intervene, however, the member of the public fled the scene in a vehicle."