Tradie faces court for allegedly pretending to be COVID positive

By Ashleigh Tullis
Jamie Pitman-Muir appeared in Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday for a brief appearance of his matter over allegations he lied about being COVID positive.

A Wollongong tradie has appeared in court for the first time after allegedly claiming he had COVID-19 to get out of going to work in Newcastle, forcing his co-workers to self-isolate.

Jamie Pitman-Muir appeared in Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday for a brief mention of his matter.

The 23-year-old man allegedly sent a text message to his CMEC boss about 4.15am on August 2, stating he had contracted COVID-19 and was unable to go to work at Kotara Homemaker Centre in Newcastle, documents tendered to court said.

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Police said Pitman-Muir's co-workers were stood down and had to self-isolate while awaiting their test results, and several locations near his place of employment, believed to be a construction site, required deep cleaning.

Later that day, Pitman-Muir allegedly sent another text to his employer advising his second test returned a negative result.

Inquiries with NSW Health allegedly confirmed Pitman-Muir never received a positive test result.

Jamie Pitman-Muir will return to court at the end of the month.

Police officers started investigating after the matter was referred to authorities.

"There's a financial cost to it, there's a personal cost to the employees being laid off ... there's a lot of fallout from it," Wollongong Police District's Acting Superintendent Brad Ainsworth said at the time.

"Everybody wants to get out of lockdown; the continual message and theme ... is to do the right thing."

Pitman-Muir attended Wollongong Police Station on August 5 where he was arrested and charged with conveying false information that a person or property is in danger.

The charge can carry up to five years imprisonment and he was granted police bail.

In court on Tuesday, Pitman-Muir, who was not represented by a lawyer, sought a two week adjournment to get legal advice.

He will return to court on September 28.

This story Tradie faces court for allegedly pretending to be COVID positive first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.

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