"I have returned in suitable attire, your honour."
A High Court judge in Ireland has booted a barrister out of court, after the advocate refused to wear a face mask.
Barrister Eamon Marray told Judge Leonie Reynolds that he was exempt from having to wear a face covering, and offered to show the judge an exemption certificate on his phone. But the judge said she would need to see the original medical document, before allowing the maskless barrister into court.
Marray agreed to take part in the hearing via a remote link, vowing to provide the written certificate later. However, Reynolds then decreed that masks were mandatory, as the claimant's mother, who was present in court, was a vulnerable person.
“Marray has been appearing in courts without a mask all through Covid,” said a source, according to a report in The Times. “He made the point last week that he was called to the Bar of Ireland and had a constitutional right to appear in this case, but the judge was adamant in her approach.”
The barrister had appeared at other hearings without a mask, and informed other judges he was exempt, The Times article added.
The case was later adjourned in the week as a person involved in the proceedings had a positive antigen test.
A statement during the pandemic by the Chief Justice of the Irish courts, which remains in force, says that although face coverings are "not mandatory...it is strongly recommended" that all people attending court should wear one, except for those who cannot wear one "for medical or other welfare considerations...or who are behind a protective screen."
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