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‘Poor mum’ slugged by police for daughter’s dumb COVID stunt

A young Brisbane woman with an "abysmal" traffic record has been excoriated in a Logan court for evading police during the hard lockdown last year at the urging of her friends, who were worried about receiving a COVID-19 ticket.

Doolandella childcare worker Caitlin McArthur, 20, pleaded guilty in Beenleigh Magistrates Court on Wednesday to two offences, failing to appear and failing to comply with a direction to stop a private vehicle.

The court heard she was lucky to not receive a mandatory 50 days' imprisonment for evading police, after the prosecution offered no evidence to this charge and preferred the lesser charge.

The failure to comply with the police direction occurred about 12.50am on April 19 last year, a month after the Premier imposed a hard lockdown on Queensland due to the proliferation of COVID-19 cases.

Doolandella woman Caitlin McArthur, 20. Picture: Alex Treacy
Doolandella woman Caitlin McArthur, 20. Picture: Alex Treacy

The court heard McArthur was driving with several passengers at Ormeau at the intersection of Burnside Rd and Eastern Service Rd when police witnessed her perform an illegal U-turn over a painted white line.

Police activated their sirens but the car sped off and merged onto the Pacific Motorway northbound.

Two days later, police attended a Kuraby residence to serve an evasion notice upon the car's registered owner, McArthur's mother, and seized the blameless woman's registration plates for 90 days.

McArthur attended Upper Mount Gravatt Police Station later that day and made full admissions, telling police her friends "told her to drive and not stop" as they feared receiving a fine for contravening a public health direction, the court heard.

McArthur missed a court date on September 3 last year without reasonable excuse, leading to her second charge.

Defence solicitor Andrew Bale told the court his client "relented to peer-group pressure" and lost her full-time childcare job due to the loss of her licence.

"It's brought some strong hard truths home to her," Mr Bale said, noting his client was only able to work in the childcare industry casually now, working around her mother's schedule so she could drive her.

"There's also the indignity of her mother having her registration plates seized for 90 days."

Magistrate Michael O'Driscoll commented drolly, "Poor mum".

Mr O'Driscoll said McArthur had an "abysmal" traffic history with eight speeding offences on the first page alone.

He fined McArthur $900 in total and disqualified her from driving for three months.

No convictions were recorded.


Originally published as 'Poor mum' slugged by police for daughter's dumb COVID stunt