An alleged robbery conspirator has been denied bail in emotional scenes after a magistrate found her positive COVID-19 diagnosis was not special or exceptional.
Jennifer Hanson was charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery when she appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court via phone from the city watch house on Thursday.
The charge, to which the 27-year-old has pleaded not guilty, alleges she joined forces with four men to steal $3315 from another man on August 26.
Police claim the alleged victim was hit with a baseball bat and punched at Hanson's Moncrieff home before being made to transfer money against his will.
Hanson was arrested in Coombs on Wednesday afternoon.
She had already been on conditional liberty, facing nine other charges including one of using a false document.
Because of the existence of that charge, which she has admitted, she had to prove there were special or exceptional circumstances in favour of her being granted bail again.
Hanson's lawyer, Lauren Skinner, told the court the woman had, in a "rather exceptional" situation, tested positive for the coronavirus since being arrested.
Ms Skinner said Hanson might spread COVID-19 to Alexander Maconochie Centre guards and other inmates if remanded in custody at Canberra's jail.
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She added that the woman had "mental health difficulties" and was concerned about the prospect of being completely isolated in prison.
The Aboriginal Legal Service lawyer proposed that Hanson be bailed to live, and isolate, with two other people who would now be considered close contacts of the 27-year-old.
But prosecutor Sam Bargwanna argued the special or exceptional circumstances threshold had not been met because it was normal for people to have to isolate after contracting COVID-19.
"It's something that many, including law-abiding citizens in our community, are having to deal with at this stage," he told the court.
Mr Bargwanna also said Hanson would pose "far less" of a transmission risk if she was isolated in jail than she would if she was returned to the community.
"The AMC ... is equipped to deal with patients who are COVID-positive," the prosecutor said.
Magistrate James Lawton agreed, saying he knew from dealing with previous bail applications that prison authorities were "taking particular care" with people who had, or might have, the virus.
He said the community and jail staff had been dealing with the pandemic for some 18 months now, meaning it was not special or exceptional for someone to have COVID-19.
The magistrate added that he believed Hanson's mental health challenges could be managed appropriately in custody.
Hanson, who could only be heard faintly over the phone, called the decision "ridiculous".
She seemed to be choking back tears and was saying something indecipherable as the connection to the watch house was terminated.
Hanson is expected back in court in November.
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