A judge has told a 48-year-old man to “stop your nonsense” after he refused to wear a mask in court.
After a Garda at Ennis District Court handed a disposable mask to Jonathan O'Gorman following a request to do so by Judge Mary Larkin, Mr O'Gorman instead covered part of his face with a red hoodie he was wearing. He said "these things are poisonous" and declined the offer of the mask.
Mr O'Gorman was in court contesting a charge over the non-wearing of a mask at a Centra outlet in Corofin, Co Clare, on February 17th this year in contravention of the Covid-19 health regulations.
Judge Larkin convicted Mr O’Gorman of the offence and fined him €300.
After hearing prosecution and defence evidence in the case, Judge Larkin stated: “I am satisfied that you have broken the law. It is as simple as that.”
After the judge imposed the fine and conviction, Mr O’Gorman responded: “I am not paying a fine for this – I haven’t broken the law.”
In evidence, Garda Andrew Monaghan told the court he received a complaint concerning Mr O'Gorman of New Street, Ennistymon, refusing to wear a mask at the Centra shop. The garda said the defendant told him he didn't believe in mask-wearing as he said Covid-19 was a lie.
The defendant disputed that he said this in court and said what he did say to Garda Monaghan over not wearing a mask was that “the mask gives you Covid-19”.
In the witness box, the defendant told Judge Larkin that having to wear “a face mask violates personal rights of a citizen to breathe fresh air, to shop, to travel to and from the State and not be questioned regarding private health matters”.
He also stated that the wearing of masks created the conditions for onset of respiratory issues, most notably runny nose, stuffy headache and shortness of breath. “Such symptoms are recognised symptoms of Covid 19 and I declare that the wearing of a face mask in any setting gives me Covid-19.”
He told the court his GP refused to provide him with an exemption from wearing a face mask as he was a fit and healthy man.