Coronavirus fears prompts judge to ask anyone coughing to exit courtroom

Woman left Gort District Court following judge’s intervention

An elderly woman left the courtroom after the judge’s remark. File photograph: Collins Courts.

An elderly woman left the courtroom after the judge’s remark. File photograph: Collins Courts.

 

Fears over the spread of the coronavirus prompted a district court judge to tell a court on Thursday he would prefer anyone coughing to withdraw from a packed courtroom.

Judge Patrick Durcan interrupted one of the cases before him at Gort District Court after he heard a person coughing. “Who is coughing?” he asked.

After an elderly woman at the back of the room identified herself as the person coughing, Judge Durcan asked: “Does the lady have business in court? You have a case, have you?

When the woman stated she wasn’t there for any particular case, Judge Durcan asked: “Why are you here?”

In response, the woman replied: “I am just attending.”

The judge told her: “I would prefer - you are more than welcome to attend ... but in view of the international health situation, I would prefer anyone coughing would withdraw.”

He added: “It is being fair to everyone else ... If you feel you won’t cough anymore, you are very welcome to stay. I will leave it to your own judgment.”

Shortly after, the woman left the court.