Accused AFL grand final COVID rule-breakers Hayden Burbank and Mark Babbage ordered to face court in Darwin

Two Melbourne men accused of falsifying documents to enter Western Australia to attend the AFL grand final have been ordered to face court in the Northern Territory. Hayden Burbank, 49, and Mark Babbage, 39 travelled from Darwin into Western Australia on September 22, allegedly claiming to be NT residents.The two were arrested just south of Perth and charged by WA Police with failing to comply with Emergency Management Act directions.Now, NT police have issued the same men with a summons to face court in Darwin in relation to fraud and COVID-19 offences. NT police allege the men fraudulently submitted fake documents to obtain drivers’ licences and open bank accounts in the NT.Upon their arrival at Darwin Airport, the two men completed a border entry form and agreed to undergo self-quarantine and COVID testing, NT Police said in a statement.However, NT Police said investigations later found they did not self-isolate while awaiting their test results.”Police will allege that both these men have gone to great lengths to circumvent the Chief Health Officer’s directions, designed to keep our community safe, and in doing so have committed serious crimes,” NT Incident Controller Commander Sachin Sharma said.”To selfishly put yourself above the rest of Australia just to attend a football match is quite frankly staggering and they will face court for it.”NT Police have been working in conjunction with WA Police and investigations into this incident are ongoing.”I would like to reassure the community that these men did not arrive from a hotspot in Victoria and have since returned negative COVID test results.”There is no risk to the Northern Territory community and the police will continue to have a zero-tolerance approach for any such activities.”The men are due to appear in Darwin Local Court on November 16.

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