The couple accused of breaching border rules have shut down their social media accounts as it's revealed why they only spent six nights in hotel quarantine.
The couple accused of breaching border rules have shut down their social media accounts as it's revealed why they only spent six nights in hotel quarantine.

Why accused border dodgers avoided full quarantine

The couple at the centre of brazen border breach allegations were only required to spend six nights in police-guarded hotel quarantine because they were caught more than a week after entering Queensland, it can be revealed.

Pet sitters Lawrence Gordon Petersen, 63, and Edith van Dommelen, 68, were slapped with criminal charges for allegedly falsely declaring they had not travelled to a COVID-19 hotspot when they crossed the border at Goondiwindi on July 27.

Edith van Dommelen, 68, and Lawrence Gordon Petersen, 63, leaving the Richlands Magistrates Court after being charged with fraud and failing to comply with border directions. Picture: Tara Croser.
Edith van Dommelen, 68, and Lawrence Gordon Petersen, 63, leaving the Richlands Magistrates Court after being charged with fraud and failing to comply with border directions. Picture: Tara Croser.

The once-prolific social media users have today locked down their Facebook accounts after The Courier-Mail revealed they chronicled their jaunt from Victoria to Queensland on the platform.

Police allege the pair committed fraud by dishonestly gaining a benefit for themselves, namely by avoiding the mandatory 14-day self-quarantine period at their own expense.

Police also allege that "without reasonable excuse" they failed to comply with directions by not disclosing they had been in a COVID-19 hotspot in the 14 days prior to entering Queensland.

The couple were pet and house sitting near Melbourne before travelling to Queensland.
The couple were pet and house sitting near Melbourne before travelling to Queensland.

They claim they entered Queensland legitimately with a relevant permit.

According to van Dommelen's Facebook page, the pair had been pet and house sitting about 70km outside of Melbourne until July 25 before they travelled through NSW into Queensland on July 27.

The entire state of Victoria was declared a COVID-19 hot spot by the Queensland Government from midnight on July 3, meaning anyone entering Queensland was required to be quarantined for 14 days.

The pair were picked up by police on August 4, more than one week after entering Queensland.

They were then only required to quarantine for six nights until August 10. It's understood the pair spent the time in a police-guarded hotel quarantine in the South Burnett region.

The day after they were released from quarantine, van Dommelen posted to Facebook, telling her followers they were out to breakfast at a Kingaroy café.

Revelations the pair detailed their elaborate "A, B and C" plans online to reach the sunshine state, discussing the permits and requirements needed for each, were met with widespread outrage yesterday.

Today van Dommelen's once-prolific account has been closed to the public and Petersen's account is no longer active.

They are currently pet sitting at an Upper Mt Gravatt address and will face the Richlands Magistrates Court on September 15.

Originally published as Why accused border dodgers avoided full quarantine


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