NSW mother charged with coughing on border police says she’s ‘not a violent person’


Adelaide 5000

A woman charged with speeding through a South Australian border checkpoint in breach of new COVID-19 legislation, before allegedly coughing on two police officers, will need to have her mental health assessed by an Adelaide court.

Key points:

  • Wendee Anderson was arrested after failing to stop at a border checkpoint on the Barrier Highway
  • She is accused of deliberately coughing in the face of the patrol officers
  • The 52-year-old has been charged with offences including dangerous driving and assault

Wendee Anderson, 52, this morning appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court via video link from the Port Pirie police cells after being arrested on Saturday night.

She has been charged with driving in a reckless or dangerous manner, driving to escape a police pursuit, being in possession of a weapon and two counts of aggravated assault.

Prosecutors told the court they held concerns for her mental health.

“She hasn’t been cooperative with us. In fact, she’s been quite aggressive towards us,” he said.

“But she’s clearly someone who needs some assistance.”

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Ms Anderson, from New South Wales, told the court that she had never been arrested for breaking road rules.

“I’m 52 years old — I’ve got five kids. I’ve never been in trouble with the police before, never ever,” she said.

“I’ve never offended on the road before — I’m not a violent person.”

Police were wearing ‘protective equipment’

Magistrate John Fahey told Ms Anderson that the charges were serious.

He stood the case down so Ms Anderson could be forensically assessed before he could determine any application for bail.

Ms Anderson was arrested after failing to stop at a coronavirus checkpoint at Oodla Wirra on the Barrier Highway — which connects SA with NSW — at about 10:45pm on Saturday.

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The checkpoint is designed to curb the spread of coronavirus.

It will be alleged that police patrols pursued Ms Anderson, who was driving a Nissan ute, along the Barrier Highway until spikes were set up about 1.5km north of Whyte-Yarcowie.

The car stopped a short distance away before police searched her vehicle, allegedly finding two knives.

Ms Anderson told the court that the knives were used to cut potatoes.

At the hospital, it will be alleged that Ms Anderson allegedly coughed in the face of the patrol officers.

“Thankfully the patrol were wearing personal protective equipment at the time,” police said in a statement over the weekend.

The case was called back about 11:00am and the magistrate informed prosecutors that the court was having trouble reaching a clinician to assess Ms Anderson.

By 12:30pm, the court had not been able to have Ms Anderson medically assessed by a clinician so the case was adjourned until next week.

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Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news