New development in COVID border jumper trio case

 

Police will drop a fraud charge against one of the women accused of lying to Queensland authorities on her border declaration pass last year after her lawyer confirmed she would plead guilty to producing false or misleading documents.

Brisbane Magistrates Court was told Haja Umu Timbo, who is accused of lying on a border declaration pass after returning to Brisbane from Melbourne last year, will plead guilty to a charge of providing a false or misleading document. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jono Searle
Brisbane Magistrates Court was told Haja Umu Timbo, who is accused of lying on a border declaration pass after returning to Brisbane from Melbourne last year, will plead guilty to a charge of providing a false or misleading document. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jono Searle

 

Diana Lasu, 21, Olivia Winnie Muranga, 20, and Haja Umu Timbo, 21, did not appear at Brisbane Magistrates Court as their cases were briefly mentioned on Wednesday.

Their lawyers appeared in their place.

Diana Lasu was charged with fraud and providing false and misleading documents after allegedly lying to border authorities after returning to Brisbane from Melbourne in July last year. Picture: Peter Wallis
Diana Lasu was charged with fraud and providing false and misleading documents after allegedly lying to border authorities after returning to Brisbane from Melbourne in July last year. Picture: Peter Wallis

 

The trio have each been charged with fraud and providing false or misleading documents.

Police allege the three women travelled to Victoria but lied about their travels upon returning to the Sunshine State in July.

Their fraud charges allege they dishonestly gained a benefit by avoiding the mandatory 14-day quarantine period upon returning.

Women charged with false declaration on Qld border pass appear in court: Women appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court charged over false border passes.

 

Ms Timbo's lawyer Jaimee-Lee Jessop on Wednesday told the court that case conferencing had been successful and the matter could be listed for a lengthy plea date.

She said the fraud charge against Ms Timbo would be withdrawn.

Ms Lasu's lawyer Ben Taylor asked for a further adjournment to allow more case conferencing to take place.

He said more material, including body-worn camera footage and police notebook entries, needed to be disclosed.

All three will return to court for a mention on February 17, but a lengthy plea date for Ms Timbo's matters was set down for March 26.

A lawyer for Haja Umu Timbo old Brisbane Magistrates Court on Tuesday that police would drop the fraud charge against her client. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jono Searle
A lawyer for Haja Umu Timbo old Brisbane Magistrates Court on Tuesday that police would drop the fraud charge against her client. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jono Searle

 

The trio are alleged to have travelled from Melbourne to Brisbane via Sydney in July last year but lied on their border declaration passes about visiting the southern hot spot.

At the time, Victoria was grappling with its second wave of the virus and implementing strict lockdown measures.

While staying in Melbourne, they were fined by police for hosting a large Airbnb party in breach of COVID-19 restrictions.

Ms Timbo did not contract coronavirus, but Ms Lasu and Ms Muranga were infected and continued to work in the community when they returned to Queensland.

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Both Ms Muranga and Ms Lasu spent days in the community while infectious and returned to work, sparking multiple shutdowns and contact tracing efforts.

Their court appearance comes after Queensland recorded two new cases of coronavirus on the eve of restrictions being eased across the greater Brisbane region.

Both cases were acquired overseas and are in hotel quarantine.

No new locally-transmitted cases were recorded.

 

Originally published as New development in COVID trio case

Olivia Muranga at a prior court appearance. None of the women fronted Brisbane Magistrates Court on Wednesday when their cases were briefly mentioned. Picture: Peter Wallis
Olivia Muranga at a prior court appearance. None of the women fronted Brisbane Magistrates Court on Wednesday when their cases were briefly mentioned. Picture: Peter Wallis