According to NSW Police, on Tuesday afternoon an 18-year-old female ferry worker was walking by the ferry terminal when a man allegedly approached and spat at her, “with saliva hitting her chest and neck”.
“The man continued walking and entered Circular Quay Railway Station,” NSW Police said in a statement.
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Shortly after the incident, Sydney City Police Area Command were notified and investigated, leading to the arrest of a 45-year-old man on Friday afternoon at Bass Hill Police Station.
The man was refused bail and appeared at Parramatta Local Court today charged with common assault.
It’s unclear whether the man will face additional penalties in light of the NSW Police Force’s recently expanded powers due to COVID-19.
As of April 20, NSW Police were granted the power to hand out massive fines to people spit or cough on anyone at work.
The police can – and have been – handing out $5000 on-the-spot fines to people caught doing this.
The fine for spitting or coughing was already in place, but only applied to people who attacked health and frontline workers, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, paramedics and police.
The expansion comes after NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard requested the powers be extended, after a number of “vile” and “pathetic” attacks against workers took place across the state.