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January 23, 2022

Teen who sparked Byron’s July lockdown fined $35k

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A teenager who sparked a seven-day lockdown in Byron Bay after travelling to the area with his father who had COVID-19 has been fined $35,000.

Kristian Radovanovic, 19, did not appear for his sentence as he has travelled to Serbia with his father to care for his grandmother, the Waverley Local Court was told on Monday.

The Byron Shire and the Tweed Shire are once again in lockdown. Photo NSW Police.

He pleaded guilty to four charges after the Rose Bay family travelled to NSW’s northern rivers region to purchase a farm in late July and failed to abide by public health orders.

For not using a QR code and failing to wear a mask in a general store Kristian Radovanovic was fined $5000 and $7500 respectively, and for not wearing a mask nor using a QR code in a taxi he was fined $12,500 and $10,000 respectively.

The former gyprocker was already serving a community corrections order following a police pursuit while drink driving, and a conditional release order for affray after joining a brawl.

Magistrate Paul Mulroney said all offences involved a disregard for public health and safety.

‘He did not care at all about the rest of the community,’ he said.

‘What he did was not just irresponsible, not just criminal, but had the real potential to put the lives and the wellbeing of the community at serious risk.

‘I am imposing substantial fines to drive home to other people who don’t think this is serious … there should be significant consequences.”

Lawyer David Newham said Kristian Radovanovic’s father had twice tried to buy property in the northern rivers region in 2020 but in June 2021 his senior business partner inspected a farm and in essence communicated “this is the one”.

When a Serbian father tells his son to jump, Mr Newham said, he asks ‘how high?’.

‘At that point in time, they didn’t know they were infected with COVID-19 at all,’ the lawyer said.

The family packed up some belongings and travelled to Byron Bay on July 31 to inspect the land but were disappointed.

The father, Zoran, made an offer on a Nimbin property on August 5, but by this time he was having breathing difficulties he assumed was his chronic asthma.

Days later the 52-year-old was admitted to hospital with the virus, subsequently leading Byron Bay and surrounding areas into a one-week lockdown in August.

Mr Newham said his client accepted there was no excuse for his conduct but pointed out ‘half the people around were doing the same thing’.

Zoran Radovanovic’s case is also up for mention at Lismore Local Court on Monday.

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