A HIGH Court judge has fallen ill with the flu and is suffering from mild pneumonia forcing him to suspend sitting on cases so he can remain at home.
In the wake of an almost full lockdown of the judiciary which took effect Tuesday as TT dealt with its' fifth covid19 patient, emergency judges have been appointed to deal with critical civil and criminal cases. In a three-page release headed Covid19 Emergency Directions, the decision was taken for judges, masters, magistrates and registrars, to use telephonic and video conferencing, instead of litigants appearing in courtrooms.
Sittings of the Appeal Court have been suspended.
On Tuesday, the three criminal courts in San Fernando were closed in accordance with the directive.
All magistrates' courts, including the traffic courts, have also been suspended except for cases deemed fit for hearing, such as domestic violence cases. The judiciary listed a number of cases they deemed to be emergency matters over which judges and magistrates will preside.
In directing that sittings of the High Court on civil cases are to be suspended with immediate effect, the judiciary also directed that family courts will not sit except for matters deemed fit for hearing.
Medical personnel have been screening people in San Fernando and at all magistrates' court in Central and south Trinidad before they enter the buildings.
The judge who fell ill had a civil matter on Tuesday but his judicial support officer sent an e-mail to attorneys involved, saying that he was sick with influenza B with mild pneumonia. It says, "He has asked me to write you to say than an injunction was already granted in your client's favour and that he will not be able to attend court today."
The e-email further says in part, "If there is any special emergency that has not been cured by the injunction he granted or which has arisen as a result of the injunction, he advises you to get in contact with the registrar as covid emergency judges have been appointed to hear these matters in special sitting subject to qualification."