Courtroom closed after defendant walked in less than three hours after attending hospital with suspected virus symptoms

A courtroom at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court had to be closed for the day and cleaned after a defendant attended having earlier been to hospital with suspected coronavirus symptoms.
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The courtroom at the magistrates’ court in South Shields, which deals with defendants from across the region, had to be cleared, cleaned and closed for the day.

It came after a defendant walked in just hours after attending hospital.

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Bosses ordered the courtroom be shut down, minutes after the defendant appeared to face a charge they are accused of.

Courtroom Number 1 at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court was closed and cleaned after the incident.Courtroom Number 1 at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court was closed and cleaned after the incident.
Courtroom Number 1 at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court was closed and cleaned after the incident.

The court was told a woman who claimed to be a relative had earlier contacted staff by phone to say the defendant was at hospital.

The defendant arrived for their hearing later that day and confirmed to staff after sitting down in the court room, that they had been at a hospital that morning.

They were immediately asked to leave the building – and the session was brought to a close.

The courtroom has since been reopened.

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A HM Courts and Tribunals Service spokesperson said: “All areas of the court building visited by the individual were thoroughly cleaned as a precaution, in line with public health guidance.

"They are now back up and running.”

They say it is believed that nobody in the court building was in close contact with the individual.

Magistrates in another courtroom later adjourned the case to be heard at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on a later date.

There were no further details announced to the individual's condition.

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