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Judge waiting for MRI scan to decide on penalty in mask case

November 23rd, 2021 11:45 AM

By Southern Star Team

Margaret Buttimer at an earlier court sitting in May. Judge McNulty heard this week’s case was her seventh conviction for failing to wear a facemask. (Photo: Denis Boyle)

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JUDGE James McNulty has held off sentencing a Bandon grandmother who has refused to wear a mask in indoor places, until he receives the results from her MRI scan and her updated medical report.

He made the decision after 66-year-old Margaret Buttimer’s seventh conviction, in defiance of the ruling making it mandatory for masks to be worn indoors in a public place, following her arrest at a supermarket in Bandon for her refusal to do so.

On Thursday Oct 21st last Ms Buttimer, with an address at The Cottage, St Fintan’s Road, Bandon, entered the SuperValu Shopping Centre without wearing a mask.

Despite several requests from store manager Dwayne Hunt, she refused to comply when requested to wear a mask.

‘The wearing of masks is for the protection of our staff and our customers,’ said Mr Hunt.

Gardaí were called to the store where once again Ms Buttimer was requested to wear a mask and once again she refused, telling Garda Paul Gleeson that she would not wear a mask and would go back into the SuperValu store.

Ms Buttimer was then arrested.

Solicitor Plunkett Taaffe, representing Margaret Buttimer, told the court that his client was not contesting the evidence as she feels that there has been no offence committed.

Mr Taaffe handed Judge McNulty an up-to-date medical report from a consultant psychiatrist.

He told the court that Ms Buttimer’s partner was becoming increasingly concerned about her becoming ‘forgetful and doing unusual things’.

In the medical report Dr Eleanor Mullan, who specialises in the mental health of older people, indicated there was a suggestion of a psychiatric disorder in the case, but could supply no sufficient current evidence to make a definite diagnosis.

Judge McNulty said: ‘I am unable to indulge in sympathetic speculation without a more definite medical report.’

Mr Taaffe told Judge McNulty that Margaret Buttimer was scheduled  to undergo an MRI scan later that day.

Judge McNulty convicted Margaret Buttimer but said he would defer imposing a penalty in the case until the results and analysis of the MRI scan were presented to the court.

He adjourned the  case until December 16th.

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