A GRANNY who refuses to wear a mask in shops has been jailed for the weekend.
Margaret Buttimer has appeared in court for a second time unmasked and was held in contempt by the judge who sent her to jail until Monday.
Despite efforts by her concerned family, her partner who wore a mask, the judge and her solicitor to persuade her to obey the law, Buttimer continues to ignore everyone and claimed she only answers to God.
The 66-year-old granny of The Cottage, St Fintan’s Road, Bandon appeared before Bandon District Court after attending Clonakilty District Court earlier this week, charged with refusing to wear a mask at Dunnes Stores in the town on February 12 last.
She was found guilty of the offence of not wearing a mask in breach of Covid-19 regulations.
Judge Colm Roberts was told that Buttimer abused the store manager when he asked her if there was a medical reason why she wasn’t wearing a face covering.
She refused to answer the manager’s questions before eventually telling him that she only answered to God.
Management at the store contacted Gardai. Buttimer became agitated and called manager Gary Emerson an “asshole.”
She told gardai at the store she was only answerable to God. She refused to provide her details and declined to wear a mask when she was brought to a garda station.
She told Clonakilty court she didn’t believe in masks but that she was sorry for calling the manager a name and hoped he would find it in his heart to forgive her.
Judge Roberts adjourned the case to give Ms Buttimer an opportunity to reflect on her behaviour and appointed a lawyer to help her.
He said: “I am confused by her antics as she is a pleasant woman. But she seems to have a need for attention”.
‘CAN’T DO WHAT YOU WANT’
Buttimer told the court she did not believe in masks and it was her choice not to wear one, to which the judge replied it was also her choice not to enter a shop without wearing one.
He said: “You just can’t do what you want.”
Today she entered the Bandon Courthouse again not wearing a mask and proceeded to smile at the judge, who told her: “This is not funny. I don’t think you are appreciating the seriousness of this”.
He said she had turned up in the body of the court “without a mask but worse still a smile on her face as if this is something to smile about.”
He admitted: “The last thing I want to do is jail her for contempt.
“She has created a situation where I have no other option.
“She is undermining the rules of the court and the country. Her viewpoint makes no logical sense.
“Her partner wears a mask and he is concerned about her.
“If she wants to be released she will have to put a mask on. I am concerned about her decision making.
“She is showing a total disregard for everyone and a total disregard for this court.”
Judge Roberts said that Buttimer was moving from defiance to “openly challenging the courts authority and the law of the country.”
Defence solicitor Plunkett Taaffe said that he was conscious of the age of his client. Mr Taaffe emphasised that her family were concerned about her.
She is due to appear in court in relation to other similar charges on June 14 next.
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Judge Roberts told her she was entitled to her relationship with God, but not to the detriment of society.
He found her to be in contempt of court and remanded her in custody for the weekend.
She will appear before Bandon District Court again on Monday for sentencing.