Couple Charged with Assault After Altercation Over QR Code Check-In

by Sonia Hickey & Ugur Nedim
QR check in

A couple has been charged with assault and affray after they allegedly attacked a restaurant owner and a customer when they refused to use the QR check-in code at a restaurant in Forster on the mid-New South Wales Coast.

The 34-year old man and 27-year old woman refused to check in to the restaurant, and were refused entry as a result.

According to the restaurant owner, the man said: ‘I’m not going to follow anything … that’s all bullshit and I’m not going to do that for my personal reasons’.

The man then allegedly picked up a bottle of water, smashed it against a wall and punched the restaurant owner in the face.

The man was then escorted from the restaurant and allegedly punched the owner, Mr Mostafa Jamalifard, on the street.

The woman allegedly attempted to jump the restaurant counter before allegedly biting a 44-year-old customer, who was attempting to intervene.

The incident was captured on multiple CCTV cameras.

Charged with assault

The restaurant owner sustained facial injuries, including what is believed to be a broken nose.

The man has been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, affray, intimidation and intentional or reckless damage to property.

The woman has been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm in NSW

Assault occasioning actual bodily harm (AOABH) is an offence under Section 59 of the NSW Crimes Act 1900 which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison, or 7 years if committed in the company of another person or persons.

To establish an AOABH, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You committed an act of violence towards another person,
  2. The act caused physical injuries that were more than ‘transient or trifling’, or the act caused very serious mental harm,
  3. The other person did not consent to the act, and
  4. Your actions were intentional or reckless.

Examples of Actual Bodily Harm include:

  1. A deep scratch or lasting bruise,
  2. A ‘black eye’, and
  3. A psychiatric condition

The defences to the charge include:

  1. Self-Defence
  2. Duress
  3. Necessity, and
  4. Lawful correction of a minor

Covid fines

The couple was also issued with fines of $1,000 each for allegedly failing to comply with a public health order.

The current public health order includes the requirement to check in at all venues such as restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs.

Venue owners face hefty fines if their patrons don’t check-in. As of January this year, all public places and businesses were required to have the Services NSW QR check-in system in place, or risk a $5,000 on-the-spot fine.

QR Check-in mandatory in all businesses

With Covid clusters increasing around Australia, the Service NSW QR code mandate will be expanded on 12 July 2021.

While many New South Wales residents are skeptical about giving away their data, the Government claims the Services NSW QR code check-in app has proven to be a highly effective method for contract tracing.

The government says that the data captured by the Service NSW COVID-Safe check-in app is only used for the purposes of contact tracing by NSW Health and is deleted after 28 days.

On 12 July 2021, all businesses will be required to have the QR code check-in, including:

  • Retail businesses and supermarkets,
  • Individual shops within shopping centres,
  • Shopping centres need to display QR codes at entry points where practicable,
  • Gyms,
  • Offices, including call centres,
  • Manufacturing and warehousing,
  • Universities and TAFE.

Schools including teachers and visitors (such as parents and contractors) but excluding students.

Businesses such as hospitality and hairdressers that were already using the Service NSW QR code will also need to ensure staff and visitors such as maintenance workers and delivery drivers check-in.

Hospitality businesses will now need to extend the use of the Service NSW COVID-Safe check-in to all customers including takeaway orders.

Businesses that fail to comply with the new health order requirements may be subject to fines and in case of flagrant breaches, temporary closure orders and NSW Police as well as Health Inspectors will be out in force ensuring that rules are complied with. Businesses must also supply other reliable methods of check-in for people who don’t have a digital device.

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Authors

Sonia Hickey

Sonia Hickey is a freelance writer, magazine journalist and owner of 'Woman with Words'. She has a strong interest in social justice, and is a member of the Sydney Criminal Lawyers® content team.

Ugur Nedim

Ugur Nedim is an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist with over 20 years of experience as a criminal defence lawyer. He is the Principal of Sydney Criminal Lawyers®.

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