COVID-19 once again made its presence felt during district court proceedings last week.
The local court proceeds to sit but at a reduced scale.
While the vast majority of cases are adjourned, presiding Judge Geraldine Carthy is eager to progress matters where possible.
However, Covid-19 is a recurring issue with many defendants unable to attend court or meet with solicitors to progress cases.
At last Wednesday’s sitting, a book of evidence was due to be served on one elderly defendant, but he wasn’t in court when his case was called.
His solicitor Brendan O’Flaherty said his client was “cocooning in so far as he is over 70”.
Judge Geraldine Carthy appreciated that the man was over 70 but travel to a court date was excluded from travel restrictions.
“The court is bereft; we have achieved social distancing,” she said.
The case was adjourned for a day to allow the defendant to appear.
The court was told that another defendant who faced drug possession and drug-driving charges had contracted Covid-19 and was currently in self-isolation. The matter was adjourned until later in the month.
A defendant who faced a harassment charge suffered from a COPD-type illness and could not venture out with the current situation. The case was also adjourned for a month.
One man who faced an assault charge was working with the HSE “on the front line” and had been unable to talk to his solicitor. The case was adjourned until later in the month.
Another man aged in his 50s who was charged with assault appeared before Judge Carthy. He was being held in custody by gardaí and appeared agitated that social distancing was enforced in the courtroom.
He declined to take a seat when asked to do so by gardaí, remarking he could not know if the seat was virus free. The defendant also accused the injured party of having Covid-19 after bail conditions were imposed to keep away from her.