20 Apr 2020

Covid-19: Man charged with attempting to infect three police officers

12:50 pm on 20 April 2020

An Auckland man has been charged with attempting to infect three police officers with Covid-19 by spitting on them.

Police generic

Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

The 31 year old, who has name suppression, is accused of attempting to infect three constables with the new coronavirus last month.

Under the Crimes Act, it is an offence to intentionally infect - or attempt to infect - another person with a sickness or a disease.

The man claimed to have Covid-19 when being arrested last month by officers who were then put into isolation while two police cars involved were decontaminated.

At the time, Superintendent Naila Hassan said the man had been charged with assault and resisting police but if proven to have the coronavirus and infected others he could face a charge of infecting with disease.

The man tested negative for the virus but still faces three separate charges of infecting with diseases relating to each of the police officers involved.

Hassan said she was appalled by the man's actions, and he had put the health and safety of officers at significant risk.

There have been a series of spitting incidents targeting police and others around the country during the level 4 lockdown.

Yesterday morning, a woman spat at two Auckland Transport workers on a train in Britomart after being asked to leave because she was not travelling for essential services.

A man was also charged after spitting at police officers while trying to escape arrest at a Hamilton supermarket last week.

Acting Waikato District Commander Inspector Andrew Mortimore said spitting at members of the community, including police officers, would not be tolerated.

"Behaviour where people spit at members of the community including police officers will not be tolerated. While rare, such behaviour is highly concerning and potentially extremely dangerous."

While police recognised the pandemic was a challenging, stressful time it did not excuse criminal behaviour that put others at risk, Mortimore said.

The man accused of spitting on police officers will appear in the North Shore District Court later this week.