The staff in the Magistrates Court registry called in sick in protest of the Chief Justice’s failure to close the building despite a COVID-19 outbreak.
Prosecutors, magistrates, their clerks and accounts staff have tested positive for the highly transmissible virus in the past week—but the building remains open to the public.
Chief Justice Sir Brian Moree hasn’t even ordered the building closed for deep cleaning and sanitation, potentially putting other staff members and the public at risk.
As a result, registry staff refused to come to work in the interest of self-preservation.
Last year, the building remained open despite a COVID-19 outbreak in the cell block that claimed two lives.
There is also a COVID-19 outbreak among judges and staff in the Supreme Court.
Many fear that the ceremony to mark the opening of the legal year, which will be held on January 12, could become a super-spreader event.
However, the Chief Justice reportedly wants the event to go on as planned as this will be the last ceremony that he presides over.