Toowoomba North MP Trevor Watts addresses the media in Mt Lofty.
Toowoomba North MP Trevor Watts addresses the media in Mt Lofty. Tom Gillespie

Trevor Watts, two police, fined for breaking restrictions

TOOWOOMBA North MP Trevor Watts has resigned as the LNP's police spokesman after he was fined by police for breaking COVID-19 restrictions. 

Two police officers were also fined in relation to the East Toowoomba incident, which occurred on Sunday afternoon.

The incident involved an outdoor gathering of neighbours, which included Mr Watts and the two police officers.

The Chronicle understands several people, including Mr Watts, were standing in front of their letterboxes drinking, in what is considered public land, so the gathering was considered public and therefore not allowed. 

"I was open and transparent with police as they investigated the matter today, and as a result, I received a fine of $1334," Mr Watts said.

"I accept full responsibility for my actions and the consequences that follow.

"At the time, I did not consider my actions were in breach of the rules. However, upon reflection, I realise that while catching up with neighbours in our respective driveways on Sunday afternoon, I inadvertently breached COVID-19 restrictions."

A Queensland Police Service spokesman said two police officers had been issued with an infringement notice relating to COVID-19.

"The Southern Region sergeant and senior constable have each received a $1,334 fine for failing to comply with a COVID-19 direction issued by the Chief Health Officer (CHO)," the police spokesman said. 

"Police will allege the off-duty officers were among a number of people who failed to comply with the social-distancing rules by attending an outdoor gathering in an East Toowoomba street on Sunday afternoon.

"A third person has also been issued with an infringement notice. Investigations are continuing to identify another 12 people believed to have attended the gathering."

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said Mr Watts informed her today he was fined for breaching the coronavirus restrictions relating to a gathering that occurred on Sunday.

"I expect the highest standards from my team, especially my Shadow Ministers," she said.

"I have accepted the Member for Toowoomba North's resignation as the Shadow Minister for Police and Counter Terrorism and Shadow Minister for Corrective Services. 

"Trevor is more determined than ever to represent his local community as the LNP's Member for Toowoomba North."

Mr Watts said his actions "demonstrated a momentary lack of judgement and I regret them deeply".

"Every member of society must be held to account for their actions, especially in respect to the law.

"The community must be able to have faith in the integrity of their leaders. That's why it was appropriate for me to immediately resign from my position as the Shadow Minister for Police and Counter Terrorism and the Shadow Minister for Corrective Services."

Mr Watts said he would offer his successor in the LNP police position, Dan Purdie, his full support.

"I remain committed and determined in my role representing the Toowoomba North electorate in Queensland Parliament," he said. 

Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey, part of the Labor Government, took to Twitter to express his disappointment  at the news.

"The LNP's 6th most senior State MP and Police Shadow Minister Trevor Watts fined for breaking COVID-19 restrictions," Mr Bailey wrote.

"Incredibly disappointing to hear after millions of Queenslanders have been listening to health advice and doing so much to save lives and flatten the curve." 


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