Skipper’s big lie to hop the border
A SKIPPER of a luxury super yacht lied three times in emails about he and seven passengers quarantining as they travelled to the Gold Coast.
The lies told by Lady Pamela skipper Greg Numa gave him, his crew and the multi-millionaire Melbourne family who owned the yacht exemptions from quarantine when they arrived in Queensland from Melbourne.
"We have had no contact with the outside world," Numa wrote in one email, the Southport Magistrates Court was told.
But Numa, passengers and crew had left the yacht at three different ports to go clothes shopping and grocery shopping, to visit a coffee shop and to go to an autoparts shop to buy a battery and charger.
They used cabs and courtesy cars provided by the marinas.
The 64-year-old pleaded guilty on Friday to providing a false declaration between August 9 and 24.
He was fined $4500 and no conviction was recorded.
Police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Damian Summerfield said Numa had sent 87 emails to a government official asking for a quarantine extension.
He lied in three of those emails.
One of the emails was sent hours after Numa had gone for coffee and to go to the autoparts store, and while passengers were off the vessel shopping.
Sen-Sgt Summerfield said Numa's behaviour was "an extreme example of failing to disclosure information''.
"It was not just himself but a number of people," he said.
"It promotes a great risk when this kind of conduct is allowed to continue. There is a strong deterrent needed to denounce this behaviour to the community."
Defence lawyer Glen Cranny, of Gilshenan and Luton Lawyers, said Numa "very much regrets what he said".
"He never believed it would provide a great risk to anyone," he said
"Everyone on the boat was healthy. My client has been tested four times and everyone is clear … now that is a matter of as much good luck as anything.
"He certainly did act unthinkingly."
Mr Cranny said Numa earned about $70,000 a year skippering the yacht.
Magistrate Grace Kahlert said during sentencing: "The offending is serious because of the potential risk.
"It shows on three occasions you not being honest with a government officer."
Before court proceedings Numa had kept to himself, only talking quietly to his lawyer.
Numa was skippering the superyacht for Melbourne millionaire Mark Simmonds and his family.
Numa, a former celebrity manager and with two other crew members, piloted the Simonds family of four.
The superyacht's three levels of VIP lounge bars, barbecue areas and a swimming platform were home for the millionaire family for just over two weeks on the voyage north.
After the quarantine breach was found, the group had to quarantine in the QT Gold Coast hotel at Surfers Paradise, where meals would have differed from the extensive and varied menu of platters and gourmet seafood that they had enjoyed on the superyacht.
The group left quarantine earlier this week.
After the hearing and outside court, Numa spoke briefly to the media pack, saying he was the only one responsible for the total of 87 emails he sent, including those in which he lied about people leaving the yacht.
"You do regret some of the things in life," he said.
He also thanked the authorities, including police and Queensland Health.
"They do an amazing job dealing with people like myself who stepped over the line on this occasion," he said.
Numa was whisked away in a waiting sedan.
Originally published as Skipper's big lie to get into Queensland