A tradie who threw a sickie by pretending to test positive to Covid has been punished for the hoax which threw several construction sites into total chaos.
Jamie Pitman-Muir, 23, pleaded guilty to one charge of conveying false information suggesting a person or property was in danger at Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday.
The Illawarra man texted his boss at 4.15am on August 2 claiming he’d tested positive for coronavirus and wouldn’t be coming to work that day.
His desire for a day off forced his bosses to shut down construction at a Newcastle building site with 25 of his workmates ordered into isolation.
NSW Police confirmed several of the worksites were subjected to entirely unnecessary deep cleaning.
Nearby lunch venues were also forced to close over the Covid scare with employees urged to get tested and enter isolation.
Later that day, Mr Pitman-Muir is said to have backtracked on the lie and texted his boss back to say he’d now tested negative.
But NSW Health officials revealed they had no record of the man being tested at all and called in police.
‘His co-workers were stood down and self-isolated while awaiting their test results, and several locations near his place of employment required deep cleaning,’ NSW Police said at the time.
After police announced they were investigating, the man handed himself in and was charged with conveying false information suggesting a person or property was in danger.
‘There’s a financial cost to it,’ said Acting Superintendent Brad Ainsworth at the time.
‘There’s a personal cost to their employees. They got the grief that they were laid off for two or three days.’
Mr Pitman-Muir could have faced up to five years in jail but was handed a lesser punishment of a Community Corrections Order in at Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday.
He also received a criminal conviction and was ordered to pay a $1,500 fine.
The tradesman must not commit any offence while subject to the 12 month order and will be required to face court if called to do so during the next year.