Sun. Oct 17th, 2021

Two Victorians who sneaked into Perth using false documentation to take part in the grand sold-out finale have been jailed for at least three months after spending the last 15 days in custody.

Prominent Melbourne restaurateur Hayden Burbank, 49, and his 39-year-old financial planner Mark Babbage left Melbourne for Darwin on 14 September and then flew to Perth on 22 September.

The mad Demons fans went to the Prime Minister at Optus Stadium on September 25 and were caught mingling among players in the locker rooms after the team’s drought-breaking victory over the Western Bulldogs.

The photos were posted on the AFL’s official Instagram account.

The couple violated Western Australia’s strict border rules because they did not meet the criteria for an exemption to enter the state – coming from a high-risk jurisdiction – did not have a Covid -19 test 72 hours before leaving it and showed signs of a negative result, and did not declare on their G2G form that they had come from Victoria.

Perth Magistrates Court heard on Wednesday that Babbage had provided a forged Northern Territory driving license, an ANZ bank statement showing an NT address and an NT lease.

Pictures of the couple celebrating their favorite team's victory were posted on the official AFL Instagram account.  Regards Channel 7
Camera iconPictures of the couple celebrating their favorite team’s victory were posted on the official AFL Instagram account. Regards Channel 7 Credit: Channel 7

When NT police went to the property, residents said they had never heard of the couple.

They were arrested days later in Bunker Bay, in the southwestern region of the state, after WA police called public tips to find them.

Both were charged with three counts of violating the Emergency Management Act – which carries a maximum sentence of 12 months in prison or a $ 50,000 fine – and fraud for the forged documents.

After Babbage pleaded guilty, defense attorney Seamus Rafferty admitted that jail was the only appropriate sentence, but ordered Judge Matthew Holgate to suspend it completely.

Sir. Rafferty argued that Babbage had come from Mount Hotham, which at the time was not subject to home bookings.

“You know you’ve been in an area that’s not covid … you’re making a terrible decision,” he said.

Sir. Rafferty said his client was deeply remorseful and a first-time offender who had participated in “an ongoing process” but admitted it was selfish while the fraud charge was serious as it involved “an element of deception”.

The magistrate was not convinced by the call for a full suspended sentence, which handed down a 10-month prison sentence, with three months to be handed down immediately.

The remaining seven months were suspended for 10 months.

Burbank took the same punishment.

Perth were on edge after the couple’s actions surfaced and one of the men returned an unimaginable Covid-19 test result, but he was later cleared.

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