The state secularism law trial was suspended temporarily Thursday morning after the child of a lawyer involved in the case, who even came into the courtroom, was declared positive to COVID-19.
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“I suggest that we suspend this morning and that we see with the authorities of the courthouse to what extent they can disinfect the room […] and we’ll see how we deal with it. Take care of yourselves everyone, ”dropped judge Marc-André Blanchard.
The news was a surprise to the people present in the room of the 17e floor of the Montreal courthouse, where the hearings on the law on the secularism of the State, contested by several groups take place.
During the break, one of the lawyers challenging the law learned that his daughter had just tested positive for the coronavirus. He had to leave the scene abruptly to get tested and isolate himself.
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However, the latter, who would be asymptomatic, was present Monday in the room to attend the hearings. She would have been tested the next day.
A ventilation problem that occurred late Wednesday afternoon had also forced the magistrate to suspend the hearing preventively.
Faced with all these factors, Judge Blanchard preferred to suspend again to avoid taking other risks.
No rule breaking
The lawyer in question does not appear to have broken public health rules by not isolating himself while his daughter was awaiting a result.
According to the government website dedicated to the coronavirus, people are asked to self-isolate when a person:
- gets a positive test result
- has symptoms
- is waiting for a result
- has been in contact with a confirmed case
- is back from a trip
At the end of the day Thursday, the courtroom was being disinfected.
“The sanitary measures, namely the wearing of a mask and physical distancing, have been respected. […] The Ministry of Justice will follow the recommendations that will be issued by the regional public health authorities ”, it was indicated in Journal.
The judge ordered the lawyers and interveners who were in the room to isolate themselves in a preventive manner. Some lawyers have indicated that they are considering getting tested.
The trial is due to resume on Friday, but in virtual mode.