Fresh charge laid against man accused of COVID breach
A NORTHERN Rivers man charged with breaching a public health order will contest the allegation against him in a hearing next year.
Byangum man Shay McRae, 45, had earlier pleaded not guilty to failing to comply with a Public Health Order.
But when he faced Byron Bay Local Court on Monday this charge was withdrawn and replaced with an allegation of failing to comply with a requirement of the Public Health COVID-19 directions by being in an unlawful assembly of more than 20 people.
Mr McRae has now pleaded not guilty to this new allegation, which relates to the same alleged act but falls under a different section of the Public Health Act.
Police will allege Mr McRae breached COVID-19 related restrictions by being a part of a group of more than 20 people in Railway Park, Byron Bay about 11am on September 5 this year.
Mr McRae was only handed details of the fresh charge in court on Monday.
Police prosecutor Sgt Val Short said two witnesses would be called in the case against Mr McRae.
The defendant has not yet confirmed how many witnesses he intents to call.
Magistrate Karen Stafford set the matter down for a three-hour hearing on July 20, 2021.
Any outstanding information in the brief of evidence is due to be filed by July 6.