Bundaberg preacher faces court over quarantine escape
A Queensland preacher who fled hotel quarantine through a fire escape, later telling police he had to "clear my mind", has told a court the threat of divorce was the trigger for his five-hour adventure.
Father-of-five Hitu Lole lasted a single day inside room 617 of Sydney's Raddison Blu hotel before making his bold exit down the fire stairs about 5pm on a Saturday August 17.
The police facts state the self-described 'preacher' told a security guard he had "forgot his swipe card", before walking away, and ultimately running down Sydney's Pitt St.
The 41-year-old Avenell Heights, Bundaberg, man told Magistrate Jennifer Atkinson when representing himself in court he had been threatened with divorce by his wife, who was living in Wollongong.
Lole said the cause of the dispute was over his financial contribution, with court documents revealing he was unemployed and "preaches to homeless people about God in his spare time".
The court heard the father-of-five had been in Melbourne to help "suicidal friends" and he hadn't been tested for COVID-19 in NSW.
"The Australian community has a real interest in people complying with hotel quarantine," Magistrate Atkinson said. "You left and put the community at risk."
Outside court, the father-of-five told NewsLocal he didn't put anyone at risk because he didn't have the chance to be infected due to the Melbourne lockdown.
"I was just preaching," he said. "If I knew I had coronavirus I would never leave the quarantine hotel."
When asked if it was fair he got to escape quarantine for five hours, he said the world isn't fair.
"Everything isn't fair," he said.
"This is unjust … we are all guilty under God. We all need to repent. I'm not religious but I am a Jesus follower."