A woman accused of participating in a lockdown protest outside TVNZ's central Auckland headquarters a week ago was set to make her first appearance in court today on charges she violated the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act.
Also appearing at the Auckland District Court via audio-video link was a man arrested yesterday, accused of injuring another man with intent and defying the lockdown by being outside of his home.
The Mount Wellington woman, 52, is accused of being among the roughly 50 people who gathered for the August 18 protest, on the first day of the nationwide alert level 4 lockdown.
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said on the day of the gathering that officers arrested four people. Among them was musician and failed political candidate Billy Te Kahika, who organised the event.
If convicted of failing to comply with a Covid-19 public health response order, the Mount Wellington woman could face a sentence of up to six months' jail and a $4000 fine. She is also accused of failing without reasonable excuse to assist a constable who requested to search her, an offence that carries a maximum sentence of three months' imprisonment.
New Zealand's top police officer warned after last week's protest that officers will continue to arrest protesters who refuse to disperse.
"They can expect enforcement action," Coster said. "We will deal with them."
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The other person appearing at the Auckland District Court today on Covid-related charges is a 37-year-old Mount Roskill man. Police allege he injured another man with intent on Monday, and on the next day flouted lockdown rules by not being at his home when authorities went looking for him there.
The injury charge carries a maximum penalty of five years' jail.
During a brief hearing this afternoon before Judge John Bergseng, he was remanded into custody until a follow-up hearing on Friday.
More than 40 people across the nation were charged by police in the first six days of the lockdown on Covid-related offences, officials confirmed yesterday. During that same period, police issued 108 formal warnings and more than 500 infringement notices.