The two young women who escaped from a Perth quarantine hotel in the early hours of Tuesday morning and were subsequently arrested by WA police have appeared in a local court for sentencing.
Isata Jalloh, aged 19, and Banchi Techanna, aged 22, were sentenced to a fine and to a suspended prison term by Magistrate Benjamin White when they appeared via video link from Bandyup Women’s Prison.
Both pleaded guilty to charges
The pair appeared on Thursday morning facing charges under the state’s Emergency Management Act for failing with failing to comply with a direction. Both pleaded guilty.
Magistrate White fined 19-year-old Jalloh $5 000, adding that her youth was a mitigating factor in her sentencing.
Techana also pleaded guilty to another charge of obstructing police officers who were trying to search her and take a DNA sample at the Perth watch house.
Prosecution calls pair ‘dishonest’
Given that that she has a previous criminal record and because of her continued defiance following her arrest, Techana was given an eight-month prison sentence. However, Magistrate White ruled that this should be suspended.
The prosecution asked for the women to be given a jail term and described them as “dishonest and deceitful from the moment they arrived”.
The court was also told they had shown a blatant disregard for the welfare of the West Australian community. A message needed to be sent that if people breached quarantine they would go to prison, the police prosecutor said.
Offences were ‘inherently serious’
Magistrate White said the offences were “inherently serious” and there were many risks associated with the women’s conduct.
“Not just from a health perspective, but because it could result in governments re-imposing strict restrictions on people’s movements and reinstating lockdowns that cost people jobs.”
Lawyers for the accused denied previous reports that the pair had travelled to Perth from Adelaide for a party. When they had escaped from their quarantine hotel that had taken a taxi to a unit where there were only two other people, their lawyers told the court.