A GROUP of Irish expats living in Australia have racked up almost $25,000 in fines from police after defying social distancing rules to host an all-night house party.
Officers were called in to break up the gathering, which took place at a property in Bentleigh East in Melbourne this past Saturday, April 18., the Daily Mail reports.
The party was eventually shut down at 7:45am the following Sunday morning, despite the strict isolation rules in place across the state.
Speaking at a press conference this past Tuesday, April 21, Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton confirmed that 15 people attended the gathering, with each receiving a fine of $1652 - $24,780 in total.
“They were having quite the party as I understand,” Dep Comm Patton said.
“We eventually had an authorised officer from the Department of Health and Human Services assist us and we gained entry at about 7:45am because it was a very big party so we gave them all infringement notices.”
While Dep Comm Patton stressed that police handed out social distancing fines at their own discretion, they made a special example of this group after they proved uncooperative and deliberately tried to hinder officers.
“They weren't compliant, they weren't letting us in and so that's deliberate, that's obvious, that's blatant,” he said.
The incident comes the same weekend footage of a large gathering in Ireland began being widely shared on social media.
Ireland’s Health Minister Simon Harris has urged the public to stick to the strict rules in place otherwise the country risks a resurgence of COVID-19.