A man who filmed himself coughing on supermarket shoppers during the Covid-19 outbreak has been jailed after breaching his bail conditions.
Raymond Coombs, 38, was charged in the Christchurch District Court this morning with failing to comply with his conditions. He had emailed a woman without prior permission.
Coombs' conditions included not accessing the internet except for Facebook Messenger conversations with friends and family.
He pleaded guilty to offensive behaviour on April 6 after uploading a video on Facebook which showed him pretending to cough on shoppers at Fresh Choice supermarket in Barrington.
He later took down the video and apologised, claiming he'd had too much to drink.
"It was a foolish, insensitive act, and I regret it – I really do," he said in court last week.
Coombs' lawyer said at the time that his client had been watching prank videos on YouTube before he recorded the footage in the supermarket.
Judge Jane McMeeken said he owed the country an apology, describing the incident as serious.
He noted that it was not isolated - Coombs had earlier uploaded another video in which he pretended to have the virus. He later tested negative for Covid-19.
"This is an unprecedented time in New Zealand's history … many people are suffering," McMeeken said.
"Your behaviour would've added to that suffering.
"It's vitally important to our country we get out of lockdown as soon as possible. Your actions could've stopped that."
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described Coombs as an "idiot".
He was initially facing charges of criminal nuisance and failing to follow a Medical Officer of Health's orders.
The criminal nuisance charge was amended to one of offensive behaviour and the other was dropped.
He will be sentenced on May 19.