Kristian Radovanovic, 19, did not appear for his sentencing as he has travelled to Serbia with his father to care for his grandmother, the Waverley Local Court was told on Monday.
He has entered guilty pleas to four charges after the family travelled from Rose Bay to NSW’s northern rivers region to purchase a farm in late July and failed to follow public health orders.
Authorities then shut down Byron Bay and surrounding areas for one week in August.
Kristian Radovanovic was fined $5,000 and $7,500 for not using a QR code and failing to wear a mask in a general store, respectively and was fined $12,500 and $10,000 for not wearing a mask nor using a QR code in a taxi, respectively.
Magistrate Paul Mulroney criticised the teenagers’ behaviour as “irresponsible” and “criminal,” saying all offences involved a disregard for public health.
“He did not care at all about the rest of the community,” Mulroney said.
“What he did was not just irresponsible, not just criminal, but had the real potential to put the lives and the wellbeing of the community at serious risk.”
“I am imposing substantial fines to drive home to other people who don’t think this is serious… there should be significant consequences.”
However, Lawyer David Newham said the father and son were not aware that they had contracted COVID-19 at that time.
“At that point in time, they didn’t know they were infected with COVID-19 at all,” the lawyer said.
When the father, Zoran Radovanovic, made an offer on a Nimbin property on Aug. 5, he noticed he was having breathing difficulties which he assumed was his chronic asthma.
After the 52-year-old was admitted to hospital with the virus days later, Byron Bay and surrounding areas were plunged into a one-week lockdown in August.
Newham said his client accepted there was no excuse for his conduct but pointed out “half the people around were doing the same thing.”
It was also revealed in court that Zoran Radovanovic had twice tried to buy property in the northern rivers region in 2020, but in June 2021, his senior business partner inspected a farm and, in essence, communicated, “this is the one.”
The family packed up some belongings and travelled to Byron Bay on July 31 to inspect the land but were disappointed.
Zoran Radovanovic’s case is also up for mention at Lismore Local Court on Monday.
AAP contributed to this article