COVID-19 and Criminal Matters

17 SEP 2021


Health Orders and Penalties

While there is a large focus on the roadmap out of COVID-19 restrictions, it is important to remember that breaches of the current restrictions can result in fines and, in some circumstances, charges.

Police have the power to issue on the spot fines to individuals for a range of COVID breaches, including:

  • $500.00 for failure to wear or carry a face mask (when over the age of 18)
  • $3,000.00 for participating in an outdoor gathering of more than 2 people
  • $5,000.00 to failure to provide information to contact tracers, or providing false information to contact tracers
  • $5,000.00 for failure to comply with self-isolation procedures when directed to do so. 
  • $1,000.00 for the breach of a public health order. 

As COVID-19 Restrictions are changing frequently, it is important to stay informed and updated with the current restrictions and how they apply to you. Click Here to see the latest updates. 

Criminal Matters in Court

As some regions see relaxed COVID-19 restrictions, it is important to understand the changes in how the Court is dealing with these restrictions and hearing matters. Here is a quick summary of directions provided by the Court.


Masks are required to be worn in all Courts across New South Wales.

Defended Hearings (Meaning Hearings where witnesses will be required to give evidence)

Across Greater Sydney and some Regional Areas, defended hearings will not proceed unless arrangements can be made to accommodate the facilitation of the Hearing via Audio Visual Link (AVL), with consent of the Court. Where this cannot be done, matters will be heard for Mention to determine a new Hearing date. 

In circumstances where the defendant is in custody, the Court will make an attempt to facilitate a Hearing via AVL with the consent of all parties. If this cannot be done, the matter will be heard for Mention to determine a new Hearing date. 


If a sentence is likely to result in a custodial sentence, and the defendant is not currently in custody, the matter will be adjourned to a later date. 

All other sentences will proceed and where possible will be heard via AVL, unless the Court orders otherwise. 


For Mentions, no physical appearances in Court are required. Mentions will be facilitated via email, telephone or AVL. 


If the Prosecution consents, defendants are not required to physically attend Court for Committals. They are to be facilitated via AVL. 


All Trials to be run with a Jury will be vacated and re-listed for a later date

The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.

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