Trevor Andrews is a true Aussie battler. Last year he was swarmed upon by State Officers claiming he posed a risk to public health in his small business. At the time there were 6 covid-19 cases in Melbourne and some 200km away in this sleepy part part of Victoria the only risk to public health was the appearance of Covid Officers travelling from the Melbourne hotspot to Echuca.
Police under the state's Health Act were only 'Temporary authorised officers' with a limited scope of power. This power was limited to investigate, eliminate or reduce the risk to public health, so a risk in a particular area must be established to enliven this power. Being some 200km away from the 6 cases in Melbourne, Police could not provide any evidence of such a risk and the Judicial Registrar reserved her decision to weigh up all the facts. This is clear evidence the police could not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Below is the mainstream media version of the events. We salute Trevor in his efforts and will keep you all updated on his progress...
Echuca’s Pastoral Hotel owner has had his day in court, a year after he was arrested and charged for flouting a COVID-19 lockdown in July 2021.
Trevor Bernard Andrews, 62, of Echuca pleaded not guilty to a charge of refusing to comply with a direction of an authorised officer under the Chief Health Officer directions.
Mr Andrews was accompanied by about 20 supporters to his hearing at Echuca Magistrates’ Court on August 17.
Outside of court, one of them called him their “number one hero”.
Prosecutor Senior Constable Carl Sofo told the court COVID-19 restrictions at the time permitted hospitality venues to operate only for takeaway services.
He said police officers attended the pub and spoke to Mr Andrews between July 19 and 21, allegedly finding patrons playing pool, sitting down for meals and drinking at the bar.
The court heard police issued two fines to Mr Andrews and 45 fines to employees and patrons.Sen Constable Sofo said Mr Andrews was arrested at the pub on July 21 and taken to Echuca Police Station where he was charged and bailed.
Representing himself in court, Mr Andrews argued police didn’t have the power to lay the charge or prosecute the matter.
He referred to the Public Health and Wellbeing Act numerous times, arguing there was never a serious risk to public health by allowing patrons into his pub.
“There is no evidence the virus ever existed in Echuca; not then, not now, not anytime ever,” he said.
“Before COVID, there was a risk you could walk down the street in Echuca and catch a cold, but that’s not a serious risk.”
Hearing: Mr Andrews represented himself in court. Photo by Steve Huntley
Judicial registrar Allison Vaughan said she needed time to go through the material provided to the court, and the matter was adjourned to November for her decision.