‘I’m sorry’: Pizza liar breaks silence

By | November 24, 2020

The pizza shop worker at the centre of South Australia’s unnecessary coronavirus shutdown says he is “extremely remorseful” and concerned about its impact on the state.

Through a statement released by his lawyer, the worker, who police say is a 36-year-old Spanish graduate student, also raised fears he had been “all but publicly named”.

In the statement, released on Tuesday afternoon, Scott Jelbert said he was the solicitor acting for the person under investigation.

“He is extremely remorseful and deeply sorry for any part his conduct played in any unnecessary lockdown actions,” he said.

“He did not foresee or intend that things might unfold as they have.”

South Australia was thrust into a harsh six-day lockdown last week, after authorities formed the conclusion that coronavirus had spread from a worker at the Woodville Pizza Bar to a customer.

But the shutdown ended early when it was revealed that the man who claimed to be a customer was instead an employee who had worked several shifts.

The man contracted the virus from a fellow worker at the pizza bar, who had another job as a security guard at the Peppers medi-hotel.

The worker under investigation also had a second job, and had been working as a kitchen-hand at the Stamford Plaza medi-hotel.

Mr Jelbert said the man has had limited exposure to media releases, public opinion and social media since he entered quarantine.

“I am, however, instructed that some information is not fair, accurate or complete, notwithstanding the state government’s comments,” he said.

“He is concerned he has been all but publicly named.”

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The statement said the worker’s focus was on co-operating with authorities and completing quarantine.

“He is sincerely concerned about the impact of the lockdown on South Australians,” he said.

“My client has not been charged with any breach of the law but in the circumstances, including that such charges may emerge, no further comment about those matters is appropriate at this time.”

In a scathing press conference on Friday, Premier Steven Marshall said the man had “deliberately misled” contact tracers.

“We now know that they lied,” he said.

“To say that I am fuming about the actions of this individual is an understatement.

“The selfish actions of this individual have put our whole state in a very difficult situation.”

Later that day, SA Police assembled 20 detectives and analysts to investigate the matter as part of Taskforce Protect.

Headed by Assistant Commissioner Peter Harvey, the group revealed on Monday it has reviewed more than 400 hours of CCTV taken from Peppers.

They have also seized items including mobile phones, a laptop and a hard drive from the worker under investigation.

There are now 29 coronavirus cases within the local cluster, after SA Health on Tuesday revealed that DNA testing linked two people in hotel quarantine who were previously believed to have acquired the virus overseas.

Health and Fitness | news.com.au — Australia’s leading news site