An Australian mother has been caught breaking out of mandatory hotel quarantine with her four children to take them to their father’s funeral, police allege.
They allegedly fled the Distinction Hamilton Hotel, on New Zealand’s north island, on Friday night to travel northwest to a funeral in Auckland for the children’s father.
The had previously held a fundraiser so they could fly from Australia to New Zealand for the funeral, Hamilton District Court heard on Saturday.
Police said they caught all the family members before they could make it to the funeral and the service went ahead without them, according to the New Zealand Herald.
The 37-year-old Brisbane mother was charged alongside her children aged 18, 17 and 16 with breaching the Health Act notice.
Her 12-year-old was the only one to escape any formal prosecution.
All visitors to New Zealand, even citizens, must undergo mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival.
Judge Noel Cocurullo spoke to the 37-year-old via video link and gave his sympathies to her for the death but said she put lives at risk.
‘I need to make it plain to you that the community I serve, the New Zealand public, are sick and tired of people breaching the strict quarantine rules,’ he said.
He said New Zealand people had worked hard to help rid the country of the pandemic.
It is understood the funeral will be filmed and four family members have been given the opportunity to watch it via video link.
The 37-year-old mother was placed on bail so she could care for her children but was forced to turn over her passport and banned from applying for travel documents.
Her children aged 18, 17 and 16 also appeared in court and were placed under similar conditions.