POLICE have launched a scathing assessment of a woman who three times spat into the eyes and open mouth of a Coles worker as she was being escorted out of Charlestown Square on Tuesday.
More details about the behaviour of Jozy-Ann Hurley can be revealed after the 52-year-old Edgeworth woman pleaded guilty to a second count of common assault in Newcastle Local Court on Thursday.
Hurley, who is represented by solicitor Donna Smith, was refused bail and will be sentenced on Monday.
In the midst of a global pandemic and during heightened panic around health and communicable diseases, Hurley "deliberately and intentionally" spat saliva into the face of a supermarket worker "totally disregarding all government recommendations in limiting the spread of the disease", police said in a statement of facts.
"The saliva on all occasions has made contact with [the supermarket worker's] eyes and mouth," police said.
"It was also noted that at the time [the supermarket worker] had an open wound on his lip... not to mention there is currently a world health pandemic in relation to the highly contagious COVID-19 disease.
"This disease is highly known to be transmitted by way of saliva particles and it is widely notorious that personal hygiene is paramount in the current climate to assist in limiting the rapid increase of infections."
The Newcastle Herald reported on Wednesday that Hurley had told police, apparently without irony, that she thought the supermarket worker wasn't practicing social distancing while following her out of the shopping centre and feared that as a result she could of contracted coronavirus.
"However, she has the hide to spit saliva in the face of the [supermarket worker], which is how the COVID-19 disease is known to be transmitted," police said.
Hurley pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a charge of common assault in relation to spitting in the face of the Coles worker, but pleaded not guilty to a second count of common assault relating to slapping a security guard in the face.
She changed her plea to guilty on Thursday after the court was shown CCTV footage of the incident, which showed Hurley forcibly striking the security guard with an open hand and the back of her hand a total of five times. Hurley applied for bail, but it was refused and she will be sentenced in Belmont Local Court on Monday.
As well as the ugly supermarket incident, Hurley will be sentenced for four unrelated domestic violence related offences.
At the time of the assaults on staff at Charlestown, Hurley had a warrant out for her arrest after she failed to appear for a hearing.