An Illawarra cafe owner and his wife are still fighting fines for not wearing masks, almost two years after they were issued.
Anthony and Natalie Reale were charged by police in June 2021 for flouting health orders by refusing to wear masks.
The couple said they told police they had medical exemptions, but that police didn’t care.
“They just want to make sure they make an example out of us,” Natalie told me.
Anthony added: “They weren’t too interested in looking at the paperwork and they arrested us. It’s two and half years on, and we’re still fighting it.”
Generous Rebel News readers pitched in to help fund the couples’ legal bills through our Fight the Fines webpage.
The Reales, who have three childen, said they could not understand why the police were continuing to pursue them when the pandemic was long over and so many other Covid fines had been cancelled.
Anthony said he suspected that police had wanted to make an example out of them by charging them when lockdowns first began.
“Media were there. It was like they were set up to do it,” he said.
But when the case attracted national media attention and caused outrage on social media, police had become even more determined to see the case through.
“They really don’t want to let us go. They want to win and make it look like they were right, and we were wrong,” he said.
“The confusing part for myself is, two and a half years on, is there any more public interest in this? It’s just costing the taxpayer’s money.”
I assured the couple that Rebel News had not forgotten them and that we were as committed as they were to seeing the unjust charges dropped.
Anthony and Natalie thanked Rebel News readers who were continuing to contribute to their legal bills.
“We wouldn’t have been able to do it financially or mentally without the help of Rebel News,” Anthony said.
“The cost for a small business like us just absolutely escalated. It’s very difficult for a family of five to afford.
“Two and a half years is a long journey. It makes it a lot easier with the help of you guys."