Northland couple who 'coughed on, assaulted' police at gas station arrested

Source: 1News

Police have charged 50 people in the first week of this year's nationwide lockdown including a Northland couple who allegedly coughed on and assaulted police officers after not wearing a mask at a petrol station overnight.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 08: New Police Commissioner Andrew Coster speaks during the All of Government COVID-19 update, where he warned would-be holidaymakers that police will be out in force to ensure lockdown rules are followed over Easter, at Parliament on April 8, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand. New Zealand has been in lockdown since Thursday 26 March following tough restrictions imposed by the government to stop the spread of COVID-19 across the country.  A State of National Emergency is in place along with an Epidemic Notice to help ensure the continuity of essential Government business. Under the COVID-19 Alert Level Four measures, all non-essential businesses are closed, including bars, restaurants, cinemas and playgrounds. Schools are closed and all indoor and outdoor events are banned. Essential services will remain open, including supermarkets and pharmacies. Lockdown measures are expected to remain in place for around four weeks, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warning there will be zero tolerance for people ignoring the restrictions, with police able to enforce them if required.  (Photo by Mark Mitchell - Pool/Getty Images)

The man and woman in Kaitaia were arrested following an incident at a petrol station on Tuesday night after the pair were seen without masks despite them being required at all essential services.

The man refused to provide his details while the woman became verbally abusive and physically obstructed officers carrying out their duties.

She then allegedly coughed over one officer, before assaulting another.

As a result, the 31-year-old woman is facing numerous charges including Assaulting Police, Resisting Police, Obstructing Policing and Failing to Comply with Order (Covid-19). The 27-year-old man is facing charges of Obstructing Police and Failing to Comply with Order (Covid-19).

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon over the past week the vast majority of New Zealanders have done the right thing by diligently following Alert Level 4 restrictions.

"It’s important we keep that up and police will continue to be out and about engaging with our communities, conducting reassurance patrols and, where necessary, taking enforcement action," Coster said.

"This is a challenging time for us all but we know staying home saves lives."

Coster said as of 5pm on Tuesday August 24, 50 people have been charged with a total of 54 offences nationwide since Alert Level 4 began.

"These arrests are primarily the result of protest activity and other intentional breaches of restrictions," Coster said.

Of the 54 charges filed, 28 are for Failing to Comply with Order (Covid-19), 16 for Failure to Comply with Direction / Prohibition / Restriction and 10 for Health Act Breaches.

In the same time period, 154 formal warnings were issued – 56 for Failing to Comply with Order (Covid-19), 54 for Failure to Comply with Direction / Prohibition / Restriction and 44 for Health Act Breaches.

"Police began issuing infringements for Covid-19-related breaches on Thursday 19 August and, as of 5pm yesterday, 686 infringements have been issued nationwide," Coster added.

In Christchurch, two people came to Police attention for breaching Alert Level 4 restrictions and driving-related offences.

A 26-year-old man is due to appear in the Christchurch District Court on Wednesday 1 September charged with Driving in a Dangerous Manner, Driving with Excess Breath Alcohol and Failing to Comply with Order (Covid-19).

Another driver was issued an infringement notice for breaching restrictions after a vehicle struck several parked cars near the intersection of Grenville Street and Ensors Road about 2am.

The driver as uninjured and Police are considering further charges.

"These types of incidents are incredibly disappointing and create unnecessary and unacceptable risk for us all," Coster said.

"While we continue to take an education-first approach, police will not hesitate to take enforcement action for deliberate and blatant breaches."

Police have now received a total of 8228 online breach notifications – 4951 about a gathering, 2517 about a business, and 760 about an individual.