The skipper of a luxury yacht repeatedly lied to authorities as he sailed from coronavirus-ravaged Victoria to Queensland with a boatload of wealthy passengers.
Greg Charles Numa, 64, pleaded guilty in Southport Magistrates Court on Friday to making false and misleading statements after the Lady Pamela left Melbourne on August 10.
He was fined $4500, but no conviction was recorded.
During the two-week voyage, Numa repeatedly contacted Maritime Safety Queensland and told an official neither he nor the other six people on board had left the vessel in a bid to enter the state
Greg Charles Numa (pictured), 64, pleaded guilty in Southport Magistrates Court on Friday to making false and misleading statements after the Lady Pamela left Melbourne on August 10
Melbourne building magnate Mark Simonds, his wife Cheryl, (pictured together) were reportedly on the yacht
Their youngest son Vallence and Hannah Fox, the daughter of Linfox executive chairman Peter Fox were reportedly on board
The lavish 30-metre yacht features a personalised fit out that includes the Lady Pamela’s ‘LP’ logo
But CCTV footage collected by police after the yacht arrived on the Gold Coast on August 24 showed Numa and his passengers had disembarked the vessel on numerous occasions to go shopping in NSW.
Police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Damian Summerfield said the yacht stopped in Eden, Port Stephens and Yamba as it motored north.
Melbourne building magnate Mark Simonds, his wife Cheryl, their youngest son and Hannah Fox, the daughter of Linfox executive chairman Peter Fox were reportedly on board.
Sen Sgt Summerfield said Mr and Mrs Simonds, who own the Lady Pamela, were also recorded off the vessel in Eden for about 1.5 hours.
‘Carrying what appeared to be cardboard shopping bags,’ he said.
NSW Police later issued nine $1000 fines to Numa, his passengers and the crew for breaching the state’s COVID-19 health restrictions.
During the two-week voyage, Numa repeatedly contacted Maritime Safety Queensland and told an official neither he nor the other six people on board had left the vessel (pictured) in a bid to enter the state. But CCTV proved they had
MSQ and Numa exchanged 83 emails during the voyage.
‘The defendant was attempting and later obtained the chief health officer’s quarantine exemption upon arriving,’ Sen Sgt Summerfield said.
‘It’s quite an extreme example of continually providing false information.’
Based on the false information, Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young provided all aboard the superyacht with an exemption to enter the state.
This was later withdrawn and Numa, the crew and his passengers were placed in quarantine where they tested negative to COVID-19.
National Basketball League executive director Larry Kestelman told the court Numa was a close friend and skippered his vessels, the Pretty Woman and Vegas MY.
Regularly hired for events on Sydney Harbour, Lady Pamela is promoted as being similarly ideal for ‘intimate functions, corporate charters, family cruises and team building events’
‘He has shown me to be a man of good character and hard-working disposition,’ he said in a personal reference handed to magistrate Grace Kahlert.
‘These traits are echoed by many of those who have come into contact with him over the years on board the vessels.’
Outside court, Numa said he regretted ‘stepping over the line’.
‘I’ve paid the price today,’ he told reporters.
He said his decision to lie to health officials was his alone.
‘The integrity of the Fox family and the Simonds family remains,’ he said.
The maximum penalty for making false and misleading statements is $13345 or 100 penalty units.
Queensland Police initially issued Numa with a $4003 fine for breaching the state’s border restrictions but this was withdrawn when he was issued a notice to appear in court.