Three Queensland men who lied on their border control forms to leave Melbourne

Three Queensland men who inadvertently lied on their border forms to return home from Melbourne have escaped serious punishment and instead received good behaviour bonds.

Samuel Tumua Fenunuti, 29, Tithing Keresoma Faagase, 25, and Earnest Tumano Lotomau, 23, made incorrect declarations on their forms at the NSW-Queensland road border in August – at the height of Melbourne’s Covid second wave. 

Queensland Police said the three Logan men, who were working in Melbourne’s wharves, used false ‘G’ pass declarations after spending several weeks in Melbourne.  

The trio faced Coolangatta Magistrates Court on Monday to plead guilty to failing to comply with a public health directive

The trio faced Coolangatta Magistrates Court on Monday to plead guilty to failing to comply with a public health directive

The men were placed on good behaviour bonds with suspended fines of $1200 each

The men were placed on good behaviour bonds with suspended fines of $1200 each

After returning to Queensland and realising all of Melbourne was a declared hot spot, the men alerted authorities and were taken into quarantine hotels by police.

The trio faced Coolangatta Magistrates Court on Monday to plead guilty to failing to comply with a public health directive.

Defence lawyer Thomas Lane-Porter said the men were confused about Melbourne’s Covid crisis, and believed their suburbs were outside declared hotspots. 

Fenunuti claimed he had Googled his postcode in Melbourne and wasn’t aware it was a hot spot.

Mr Lane-Porter said Fenunuti made ‘a simple mistake’ and ‘did everything in his power to rectify it’.

Magistrate Kerry Magee agreed that it wasn’t intentional, saying ‘the absence of an intention to deceive … was an important mitigating factor’. 

Lotomau was under the impression his boss had given him the correct information to fill out a Queensland border pass.

Ms Magee found there was ‘no intention to deliberately mislead’ on his part, and said Faagase’s risk to the community ‘was not significant’. 

The men were placed on good behaviour bonds with suspended fines of $1200 each.

Outside court, Mr Lane-Porter said the situation was ‘an unfortunate misunderstanding’.

Samuel Tumua Fenunuti, 29, Tithing Keresoma Faagase, 25, and Earnest Tumano Lotomau (pictured), 23, made incorrect declarations on their forms at the NSW-Queensland road border in August

Samuel Tumua Fenunuti, 29, Tithing Keresoma Faagase, 25, and Earnest Tumano Lotomau (pictured), 23, made incorrect declarations on their forms at the NSW-Queensland road border in August

Queensland Police said the three Logan men, who were working in Melbourne's wharves, used false 'G' pass declarations after spending several weeks in Melbourne. Pictured: the NSW/QLD border in August

Queensland Police said the three Logan men, who were working in Melbourne’s wharves, used false ‘G’ pass declarations after spending several weeks in Melbourne. Pictured: the NSW/QLD border in August

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