Hotel quarantine disaster: Guests left 'starving' in 'prison-like' conditions

Teen sneaks out of quarantine ‘to test police response’

A TEENAGER who snuck out of his Gold Coast coronavirus quarantine room three time in about four hours has been condemned for wasting police time.

Joshua McIntosh had been in quarantine at the Voco Hotel for less than three days after arriving from Victoria.

On one of his escape attempts he banged his head against the wall repeatedly.

During another attempted escape he claimed he was testing police response time.

On the third try he made a break for it through the fire escape and was arrested by police.

Magistrate Mark Howden said: "Police have many other things they need to do and stationing themselves outside a hotel room to make sure you remain in aught not be one of them.

"This offence represents a significant use of police resources in order to keep people like you in their rooms so they comply with quarantine requirements."

The Voco Gold Coast in Surfers Paradise. Picture: Jerad Williams
The Voco Gold Coast in Surfers Paradise. Picture: Jerad Williams

Magistrate Howden said it was of particular concern because McIntosh has flown up from Victoria on October 12.

"A strong message needs to be sent to you and others who may consider doing what you have done and should you do this there will be a significant penalty," he said.

The 19-year-old left the hotel room three times between about 6.45pm and 10.40pm on October 14.

McIntosh pleaded guilty in the Southport Magistrates Court on Thursday to one count of contravening a public health emergency requirement.

He appeared in court via telephone while under quarantine in the Southport watchhouse.

Magistrate Howden fined him $2000.

He told McIntosh that if he was struggling he should call for a doctor.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Jim Pedlow told the court McIntosh was taken to the Voco Hotel after arriving via plane from Victoria and told he must stay in the room.

But on Wednesday evening he was spotted on CCTV leaving his room and banging his head repeatedly on the door just before 7pm. Police were called.




About an hour later McIntosh was again caught leaving his room again, this time to examine the fire escape.

"He told police the reason for leaving was to see if CCTV was stalking him and test the police response time," Sgt Pedlow said.

At about 10.40pm that night, McIntosh again left his room and went down the fire escape.

Police arrested him at the bottom of the fire escape stairs.

"He said he did not want to stay in the room for two weeks and wanted to go and stay with his brother," Sgt Pedlow said.

McIntosh was taken to the Southport Watchhouse where he spent Wednesday night.

Defence solicitor Sarah Jowitt, of Legal Aid Queensland, said McIntosh had been panicking about spending the two weeks in quarantine.

She said after a night in the watchhouse he understood why quarantine was important.

"He intends to stay in there (the hotel) for the two weeks," she said.

Ms Jowitt said McInstosh had come to Queensland to work as a fruit packer.





Originally published as Teen sneaks out of quarantine 'to test police response'

The entrance to the Voco Gold Coast in Surfers Paradise. Picture: Jerad Williams.
The entrance to the Voco Gold Coast in Surfers Paradise. Picture: Jerad Williams.