An elderly Sydney man is seeking compensation from NSW Health and the state’s police service for his alleged wrongful incarceration at the weekend.
Stan Themann , 88 of Parramatta, said he was held against his will in a high-security quarantine unit at Westmead Hospital for three days from last Saturday morning.
“It all started when I posted an online advertisement trying to sell my car,” Mr Themann said.
“It’s a 1965 Toyota Corona which I’ve owned since buying and restoring it in the mid-1970s. It had very low mileage because I only drove it to the shops and back once or maybe twice a week.
“The classified ads website offered free ads but with a strict word limit which needed to include my personal details so I had to abbreviate my ad a heck of a lot.
“I’d seen a lot of acronyms on the website that saved words and space. You know, things like ONO for ‘or nearest offer’ or VGC for ‘very good condition’ that sort of thing.
“So I thought long and hard about how to describe the car and came up with ‘very immaculate restored used seldom’.
“I ended up posting an that started with: ‘I have Corona VIRUS for you’ followed by my name and address which the police told me was very handy after they kicked in my front door wearing full hazmat suits with paramedics dressed the same in tow.
“They ordered me to get into an ambulance and drove me to the Westmead Hospital at high speed with the siren blaring.
“I was kept there all weekend in a special high-security isolation unit and was subjected to a battery of medical tests as well as some merciless grilling by the police who accused me of making potentially threats to wilfully spread a fatal disease.
“It was only on Monday arvo that they released me after they verified what I had tried to tell them about selling my Toyota.
“I’ve been talking to lawyers and they reckon I’ve got a rock-solid case for compo for being wrongfully detained and wrongfully accused of reckless endangerment of public health.
“In some ways I can see how it happened, but I’m totally innocent of any wrongdoing.
“In fact the lawyers told me my classified ad would be used as evidence that I wouldn’t hurt a fly, especially my offer of providing a nice cold soft drink to anyone who turned up to inspect the Toyota.
“Although in retrospect I probably should not have included the words ‘Will also give you sars’ in the ad,” Mr Themann said.