A High Court damages action that was adjourned last week because someone involved in the proceedings had a positive antigen test is set to resume on Tuesday.
At last Wednesday’s hearing into the brain injury case of 18-year-old Ashleigh Carroll, attorney Eamon Marray was instructed by Madam Justice Leonie Reynolds, who is a member of the Judges’ Panel dealing with issues of Covid-19, to wear a covering face.
When Mr. Marray replied that he had an exemption certificate, the judge asked to see it.
He presented his phone but the judge said she would need to see a written certificate from a doctor.
Mr Marray withdrew from court and agreed to participate in the case through Pexip, the videoconferencing system used by the Courts Service, until he could produce the written certificate.
The judge said shortly after that anyone physically appearing in court should wear a face mask.
The court heard that the complainant’s mother, Louise Carroll, was medically vulnerable.
The case is that of her daughter Ashleigh, who suffered a brain injury after being hit by a car while crossing a road in Coolock, Dublin on October 20, 2016.
Ms Carroll, then 14, was walking to school when she was struck by a car driven by Dr Shereen El Mashad, who at the time worked at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.
Liability was recognized in November 2020 and the case, against Dr El Mashad and Axa Insurance, is in court for assessment of damages only. The court heard that the doctor had returned to her native Egypt and that an Irish arrest warrant had been issued against her in connection with the accident.
The case was adjourned on Wednesday until this week after the judge was informed that the person who had tested positive for antigen was to undergo a PCR test and that the court would be updated in this regard.
The judge advised those who attended the two-day hearing to take an antigen test.
A statement by the chief justice and presidents of all judicial divisions, including the High Court, regarding the courts’ approach to the Covid-19 situation remains in effect.
It states that all who appear in court must adhere strictly to current public health guidelines regarding physical distancing, frequent hand washing and respiratory etiquette.
Although face coverings are not mandatory for those attending court, in light of public health guidelines as to the value of face coverings in reducing the spread of Covid 19, it is “highly recommended” that all persons, “except those who for medical or other reasons cannot wear a face covering, or who are behind a protective screen, should do so while in the premises of the hospital. a court or within its precincts ”.
This strong recommendation “applies with equal force to anyone testifying, questioning witnesses or addressing the court, unless they do so behind a protective screen or the presiding judge considers the same prejudice in all the circumstances, ”the statement said.
The Courts Service is responsible for the courts, but when a judge sits in court, the judge is responsible for the courtroom.