A man who knowingly triggered a fire alarm at a Covid-19 managed isolation (MIQ) facility in Auckland has been discharged without conviction.
The defendant, who has been granted permanent name suppression, broke glass with his hand and set off the alarm at the Rydges Hotel on Auckland's Federal St in the evening of May 23 last year.
More than 200 returnees had to be evacuated and two fire and emergency crews responded, but there was no fire and he was detained.
Police said they found the man, 30, in the stairwell of the hotel "disconnected" to the incident, the court heard.
The man was charged with giving a false alarm of fire, which carries a maximum penalty of six months' imprisonment or a $75,000 fine.
He pleaded guilty and appeared for a sentencing hearing at Auckland District Court today.
The police prosecutor did not oppose his discharge without conviction.
Defence lawyer Antonio Spika said the defendant did not intend to abscond from the hotel, but was suffering from mental health issues at the time.
He had been seen by acute mental health services on his first day in MIQ and intermittently thereafter.
He had flown to New Zealand from Brisbane, where he had been living for seven years.
"He was not trying to escape, he was simply having a mental health event while in quarantine," Judge Robyn von Keisenberg said.
Judge von Keisenberg said the man has expressed remorse and has no prior convictions.
The man has been attending mental health services and counselling since the incident and even offered to pay a donation to Fire and Emergency.
He has been ordered to pay $150 in court costs.
MIQ fire alarm incidents
Fire and Emergency responded after the Pullman Hotel was evacuated briefly in March. It was recorded as a false alarm.
Smoke could be seen from the Sudima Hotel in Rotorua as MIQ guests evacuated in January.
Returnees had to be evacuated after an alarm was activated at the Grand Mercure on Auckland's Customs St in December 2020. The cause was unknown.