A woman who has been sentenced to six months in jail for sneaking over the Western Australian border in defiance of COVID-19 regulations is to appeal her stiff sentence.
The lawyer for Asher Vander Sanden, who was convicted and sentenced on Tuesday, confirmed yesterday (Wednesday) that an appeal is being lodged.
There will also be an application for her to be immediately released from custody while the appeal process is underway.
Harshest sentence yet imposed in WA
Vander Sanden’s sentence is said to be the harshest yet to be imposed by a WA court on anyone crossing the state border illegally. The state currently has stringent entry requirements for anyone from interstate or overseas.
Given that Vander Sanden travelled from coronavirus-wracked Victoria, she was regarded as being a particular risk to WA’s largely successful fight against the virus.
Originally from Perth, she wanted to return to look after her sister and was given permission to enter the state by air.
Sneaked over border hidden in a vehicle
However, on learning that she would have to stay in self-funded quarantine at a hotel for 14 days, she instead sought a lift from a truck driver and managed to sneak over the WA border by hiding in a car that was being transported by the truck.
But her failure to arrive on an airline flight was noticed and police launched an investigation.
She was eventually found at her partner’s unit in the Perth suburb of Scarborough and arrested. Vander Sanden had already been in the state for 10 days.
A ‘very serious’ offence says magistrate
During her court hearing, Magistrate Andrew Matthews imposed a six-month jail term and described the offence as “very serious”. He added that Vander Sanden had potentially undermined what WA had done to prevent community spread of the virus.
He added that the offence was made more serious by the fact that the accused had travelled from Victoria, a known hotspot.
Vander Sanden is eligible for parole, so she can expect to serve at least three months in prison before being considered for release.