COVID-19: Woman who broke out of Auckland isolation handed six months' suspended sentence

Suzanne Derrett.
Suzanne Derrett. Photo credit: Supplied

A woman who escaped from a managed isolation hotel in Auckland last month has been handed a six month suspended sentence.

Suzanne Derrett, 43, pleaded guilty in Dunedin last week. She applied for diversion but it was denied by the police.

At Tuesday's sentencing in the Dunedin District Court, Judge Kevin Phillips raised concerns about a lack of specialists to deal with people with mental health issues in isolation.

Derrett arrived in New Zealand from Brisbane on June 27 and was staying at the Pullman Hotel in the Auckland CBD.

She tested for negative for coronavirus before her escape on July 4 but was supposed to be in isolation until July 11.

Derrett escaped from the Pullman Hotel for two hours, claiming she went to find water.

Judge Phillips said it was a major failing to have no support professionals on site to assist people with mental health issues at managed isolation facilities.

"Mental health issues appear to have been overlooked by people managing managed isolation facilities."

The Judge said he was satisfied Derrett caused "no real harm" given she'd twice tested negative for COVID-19 - on days three and 12 of her stay.