The 36-year-old, who worked in both the Stamford medi-hotel and the Woodville Pizza Bar, was last month accused by Premier Steven Marshall of “lying” to SA Health contact tracers about his employment situation, with Police Commissioner and state emergency coordinator Grant Stevens declaring that “had this person been truthful to the contact tracing teams, we would not have gone into a six-day lockdown”.
Through his lawyer, Camena Legal and Migration principal Scott Jelbert, the Spanish national has previously said he was “extremely remorseful and deeply sorry for any part his conduct played in any unnecessary lockdown actions”, saying he “did not foresee or intend that things might unfold as they have”.
However, he has also insisted some of the Government’s commentary “is not fair, accurate or complete”.
A police investigation into the issue came to nothing after SA Health refused to cooperate with SAPOL, citing “their obligation to claim privilege” over any material relating to the agency’s dealings with the man, who is currently in SA on a bridging visa pending a request to renew his graduate visa which expired this week.
But Jelbert today told InDaily he had lodged a formal request with SA Health “to get our hands on the information that no-one can get”.
“We’ve requested all information in the relevant timeframe that SA Health holds in relation to my client,” he said.
“We are formally requesting any relevant information relating to him held by SA Health.”
He said he would “expect that information to be largely the [same] information that SA Police were interested in before”, but which health authorities refused to provide “under the public health act”.
If the application is successful, he said, “we’ll get to the bottom of if there’s anything more my client has to answer for”.
“If there is, he’ll do that – and if there’s not, that really dispels the suggestion that there was information there that my client’s done a terrible thing and hurt so many people, but some bureaucratic bar has prevented police from prosecuting him.”
Asked if he was confident any documents would show the latter, Jelbert said: “Why would we poke a sleeping bear if we don’t have to?”
He suggested SA Health’s refusal to provide the information was “different to SA Police’s inability to take that information”, suggesting “they could exercise a general search warrant [which] they didn’t do”.
“The left hand and right hand of the same body can’t clap,” he said of the standoff, which he also likened to two people sitting at a table with a glass of water between them.
“Just because one person says they can’t hand the glass of water to the other person, that doesn’t mean the other can’t reach out and take the glass of water,” he said.
“The fact they can’t give it… doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t take it off them.”
But he said his client’s “focus” was “not on arming himself with weapons to go to war with this information”.
“It’s to try to make sure people understand what happened and what part, if any, that played in this lockdown,” he said.
He did not comment on Marshall’s suggestion that his client had “lied”, but said: “Whether or not he lied is a separate issue.”
“It’s been bundled up with the suggestion that my client was a cause of this lockdown,” he said.
“We’re hoping this is information we’re able to use together [with the Premier] to set the record straight.
“[My client] doesn’t want to keep living like this… worried that he’s seen as this demon, some selfish, hurtful, greedy person that puts his own interest over and above other South Australians’.”
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