District court judge declines to grant legal aid to people fined for breaching pandemic regulations
Judge Joanne Carroll told a sitting of Midleton District Court today that she wasn’t prepared to grant the aid in cases where people were before the court for failing to pay the fines.
Several people appeared in court today for not paying Covid-19 fines for breaches in January and February 2021.
One man was fined for being outside his 5 kilometres at a checkpoint in Midleton when he refused to give Gardaí an excuse for traveling.
The court heard today that he was on the way home from dropping his wife to hospital for an operation. Judge Carroll noted the man may have been under stress that day and dismissed the case. The man also apologised to Gardaí.
One man who was found 140 kilometres from his home in Kerry was convicted and fined €125, while a young woman who failed to pay a fine after being found at a birthday party in Cobh was convicted and handed a €200 fine.
Gardaí called to the 40th birthday party on the night of February 9th and again in the early hours of the next morning to order people to leave the house.
The court heard the woman verbally abused officers as she was leaving.
Judge Carroll says the woman had breached Covid regulations at a time of national crisis and gave her three months to pay the fine.
Several cases dealing with similar offences were adjourned to next month and March as people had contracted Covid or were close contacts.