16.1 C
Byron Shire
August 3, 2021

Justice served: Muso gets COVID dancing fine overturned

Latest News

Be CaféSmart about a cuppa donation for homelessness charities

Most people would be shocked to know how close to homelessness some people in the community are – some people might be very shocked to know how close they themselves are to homelessness. It doesn’t take much.

Other News

Byron businesses buckle down

The Greater Sydney lockdown has had a direct impact on local businesses who have seen a dramatic fall in customer numbers, particularly in Byron Bay.

Ballina Shire Council supports application for new croquet club

The Ballina Croquet Club is hoping to receive up to $300,000 in funding for a new club house at Cawarra Park. 

New digs for Bangalow Lions Club

After 30 years of using a makeshift shed at the Bangalow Showground for their bar and barbecue, the Bangalow Lions Club have opened their newly constructed Lions Kiosk.

New gallery and studio breathes life into old church and graveyard

Was it divine intervention or western democracy that changed the fate of a former country church on the Northern Rivers last week?

Railway and rail trail working together

Chris Abraham, Mullumbimby Creek The rail service between Casino and Murwillumbah was suspended by the NSW Government without any public...

I’m with you Mandy…

Dominica Coulthurst, Knockrow I’m with you Mandy... all the way. Thanks so much for your Soapbox message last week. Always love...
Paul Bibby
A $5,000 fine imposed on well-known musician, Lisa Hunt, because people decided to dance at one of her Byron Bay concerts, has been overturned in court.
Ms Hunt copped the fine back in January when around 40 members of a 320-strong crowd had a boogie at Red Devils Park during one of her Summerstage events, in breach of COVID rules.

Lisa Hunt

But on July 12, Byron local court magistrate Karen Stafford found that Ms Hunt had made every effort to comply with the restrictions, electing to throw out the fine and record no conviction.

‘It’s such a weight off my shoulders,’ Ms Hunt told The Echo while enjoying a celebratory ale at the Rails hotel after the decision.
‘This has just been hanging over my head for a couple of months now.
‘The whole thing weighed so heavy – it made me leave Byron Bay.’
The fine was imposed on Ms Hunt by licencing police from the Tweed Local Area Command even though she had hired two police officers to work at the event under the NSW Police Force’s ‘user pays’ system.
The police-for-hire were part of an eight-member security team which Ms Hunt had paid for in a bid to ensure the crowd adhered to COVID regulations.
Yet despite the presence of their own colleagues at the entire event, police still found that Ms Hunt alone was responsible for the small group of people dancing and elected to impose the $5,000 fine.
It was part of what Ms Hunt describes as ‘malicious persecution’ by the licencing officers involved.
This includes an apparent attempt to shut the concert series down before a single note was played by recommending that Byron Council and the NSW Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing (OLGR) impose a series of draconian licensing restrictions on the event.
These restrictions were then duly implemented by the Council and the OLGR without question.
The budget for the event blew out massively as a result of the restrictions, leaving Ms Hunt significantly out of pocket and having to contribute thousands from the mortgage of her Byron Bay home to pay everyone involved.
‘I still to this day can’t figure out what was eating the licensing police,’ Ms Hunt says.
‘It was a total troll”.
‘All I was trying to do was to put on a few outdoor concerts for the community and to support the local music industry.’
Magistrate Stafford also acknowledged that on the following day and at subsequent versions of the concert series there was no breach of the law or fine imposed.
In the end no conviction was ordered and the fine was overturned; a good behaviour bond was ordered for two years.
Ms Hunt’s lawyer, Mark Swivel of Barefoot Law, said the decision was ‘a good example of the law being applied appropriately so that the overall public interest is balanced against the rights of the individual and company being fined…’.
Ms Hunt said the decision opened up the possibility that she might put Summerstage on again.
“There is a 3 year DA and I can at least think about it, before today I couldnt.” she said.
‘All of the equipment and gear we bought is still in storage at the park.’
‘We’ll see… At the moment I’m just glad the case is over.’

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. Congratulations Lisa! Seems the logical decision in the end… sorry for these months of pressure on you, the inhibition of others’ possible organisational plans and this pervasive anti-festival/anti-gathering fervor which has gripped our land… despite mass gatherings for sport. Hope you are not too discouraged to try again sometime!

    • Thank You Jai. I’d love to think its possible to do something this Summer, once I’ve worked through the psychological baggage that bring up anxiety at the thought.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Railway and rail trail working together

Chris Abraham, Mullumbimby Creek The rail service between Casino and Murwillumbah was suspended by the NSW Government without any public consultation. A contract was issued...

Fifteen arrested in Brisbane protest

Police say they have arrested fifteen people following protest activity in Brisbane CBD this morning.

South East Queensland lockdown continues for another five days

Queensland Health has issued a statement that says the current lockdown in South East Queensland will continue for another five days as a precaution following new cases in the state.

Pennings and Adani to continue court battle

The Supreme Court has formalised orders agreed out of court by both Adani and Ben Pennings in relation to a decision handed down on 25 June 2021.