Conspiracy theorist Eve Black has been warned by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews that she could be fined up to A$10,000 ($10,780) as the country reacted to her “selfish” actions.
Ms Black was dramatically arrested in Melbourne on Wednesday, a week after she was filmed laughing her way through a police checkpoint.
On Thursday, Mr Andrews announced 9998 cumulative cases in the state during his daily update including 723 in 24 hours in the largest and most shocking update yet. He also made a swipe at those disobeying lockdown measures, saying this “is not about human rights, this is about human life”.
“Seriously, like, this is not about human rights, this is about human life. This is not about some obscure nonsense you’ve read on a website. There are rules. There are laws in place. And everyone should follow them.
“Anyone who thinks this is a good thing to do, not only is it wrong but it’s not particularly smart, because Victoria Police are out there and they’re doing their job well.”
Ms Black, 28, attracted outrage and was labelled selfish after she uploaded a video of herself arguing with a police officer at a coronavirus checkpoint last week.
She was detained just before 2pm Thursday in an arrest that forced police to smash her car window.
Police have called her actions “selfish, childish, ridiculous and unnecessary” while the Premier has threatened those that choose to dodge lockdown will face similar penalties.
Her reaction caused widespread anger in the community and across the country as a wave of new cases sweep the east coast of Australia.
Legal expert Justin Quill told Today “frustrating was understatement” over Ms Black’s actions.
Meanwhile, Premier Daniel Andrews unleashed on Thursday.
“There’s a well-publicised case of a person who thought they’d put themselves on social media and brag about having gone through a police checkpoint,” Premier Andrews said.
“They have now been found. I don’t believe they received an on-the-spot fine. That is the low-level fine. I think they will be charged on summons.
“That will be a matter for others. I do not determine those matters but there is the on the spot A$1652 ($1780) fine and if you go through a court process it is much closer to A$10,000 ($10,780) so it is a pretty significant penalty.”
In a statement, Victoria Police said Ms Black, from Warrandyte, had been arrested on Princes St in the inner city Melbourne suburb of Carlton. Members from Dandenong’s frontline tactical unit arrested Ms Black.
“She was asked to provide her name and address which she refused to do. Police then directed her to produce her driver’s licence and explain her reason for travel, which she also refused to comply with,” police said.
“This led to police arresting her. During the arrest, police were forced to break the woman’s car window as she refused to speak to them, wind down her window, or step out of the vehicle.”
The 28-year-old has been released pending summons for traffic-related offences, failing to produce a license, failing to produce name and address, and breaches of the Chief Health Officer’s directives.
Victoria Police had been looking for Ms Black since she laughed at officers while passing through a checkpoint in Bunyip on July 23.
Last week, Ms Black said she had no regrets about her public stunt, posting a message on her Facebook page saying “I regret nothing. I’m just tired of the abuse and threats. Wake up, sleeper”, with the emoji of a sheep.
She also posted a quote purportedly from Melbourne Supreme Court Justice Stephen Kaye saying “it is an ancient principle of the common law that a person under arrest has no obligation to stop for police or answer their questions.
“Why give these people any more airtime?” Mr Andrews said.
“I’m not really interested in wasting any of our time, or using these examples of appalling behaviour, to detract from the vast majority of Victorians who are doing the right thing.
“They’re the ones we should be celebrating. The case I referred to very briefly a moment ago – the person who went through the checkpoint – police have found her and she will be appropriately dealt with.”
Ms Black’s video is one of a number circulating showing Melburnians subject to a stage 3 lockdown flouting the rules, with the encouragement and support of a conspiracy group.
Ms Black engaged in a short debate with one of her followers who asked “what about if they committed an offence”.
She replied: “An offence is usually considered such through legislation. Technically, you must consent to legislation. However, even still, they cannot arrest you for an offence such as speeding etc.”
“What she did was incredibly selfish and by posting it on social media she was encouraging others to do the same,” Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville said.