Wife Of Ex-NRL Player John Hopoate Admits To Car Seat Cover-Up
Ex-NRL player John Hopoate's wife has accepted the finger of blame, admitting to covering up for a family member when her toddler was seen unrestrained in a car.
Brenda Hopoate faced Manly Local Court on Wednesday charged with failing to tell police who the driver was in a video that showed her 15-month-old sitting in the front passenger seat of her car.
"I'm sorry," the mother of 11 told reporters outside court.
"I just didn’t want to dob anyone in."
The vision, which was posted on social media by her older daughter, sparked a police investigation in August, wherein the 47-year-old told officers the person behind the wheel was a "visiting relative from overseas" that had since "returned to her home country".
Days later, police returned to her Dee Why home, to allow her to fulfil her obligation to disclose the driver's identity and home address, but her response provided little answers.
“I don’t really know yet," she told police when formally questioned.
"I’m still investigating who it is. I’m willing to take consequences for it.”
Appearing before Magistrate Michelle Goodwin on Wednesday, Hopoate faced a maximum fine of $2200. The unemployed mother was fined $500.
"Being a parent of 11 children is a very responsible thing and to make sure that one of them is properly secured in the car is also important," Ms Goodwin said.
"It’s crucial that people that have information pass it on."
The mother-of-eleven knows how "dangerous" it was for her child's carer to have not put her in a car seat because, according to Hopoate's traffic record, she was fined $311 and lost three demerit points in 2014 for failing to properly secure a child under the age of 16.