Covid tester Rebekka Boicheska’s work fears after alleged assault

  • Published September 28, 2021

Daily Telegraph, 28 September 2021

A Covid tester who was allegedly punched in the head and abused by a man at a Sydney drive-in site says she fears returning and now works in a lab.

Police allege Ghassan Dib, 50, ranted to Rebekka Boicheska, 31, about vaccinations before he dislodged her mask and assaulted her at the Dundas site last month.

Dib, who allegedly fled on foot before being arrested two days later, entered not guilty pleas to multiple charges including common assault via an email sent by his lawyer Andrew Dikha to Parramatta Local Court on Tuesday.

Ms Boicheska, who carried out Covid tests on people at the Dundas site, told The Daily Telegraph outside court she had since requested to be transferred to her pathology company’s lab after what allegedly happened.

“I suffered an injury to my neck, it’s quite severe, I’ve still got pain and I also don’t work there anymore because I’m scared for my safety,” Ms Boicheska said.

“Imaging going to work every day and looking over your shoulder all the time – that’s how I feel, I ended up deciding not to work there.“

“I think the health minister should do something (such as) having security at sites.”

Ms Boicheska said she wants to speak to NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard about the importance of keeping frontline healthcare workers safe following her alleged ordeal.

Dib, of Telopea, will remain on conditional bail and his matter will return to court in November after a brief of evidence is served to his legal team.

His other charges include two counts of possessing a prohibited drug and a single count of failing to comply with a Covid public health order.

Police allege in court documents he was found with 29.8 grams of cannabis on the day he was arrested.

He also allegedly failed to comply with stay at home orders on the day he allegedly set upon Ms Boicheska, according to the police documents.

Police allege Dib was not wearing a mask when he approached Ms Boicheska and began filming her while verbally abusing her about vaccinations.

It is alleged he then assaulted her before several witnesses – who were waiting to be tested – exited their cars and ran over to help her.

Health Services Union secretary Gerard Hayes strongly condemned the alleged assault at the time.

“(Allegedly) assaulting people working on the frontline of the pandemic is beneath contempt,” he said.

“Health and hospital workers are already battling anxiety and exhaustion.”