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'Out and about' teenager is remanded in custody over coronavirus threat

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Gardai arrested the teenager

Gardai arrested the teenager

Gardai arrested the teenager

A teenager accused of being "out and about" for no reason - despite sharing a house with two people who had tested positive for Covid-19 - has been charged with breaching emergency public health laws.

Aaron Tyrell (19) was repeatedly found "hanging around" outside and, although he was within the 2km restriction zone, he gave "no reasonable excuse" for being there and gardai feared he would spread the virus, a court was told.

Judge Grainne Malone refused to grant him bail and remanded him in custody for a week.

Mr Tyrell, of Woodhazel Close, Ballymun, is charged with four counts of breaching the Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020.

Dublin District Court heard he said he was exercising at the time and would be "fully contesting" the charges.

Mr Tyrell was kept in a remote room for his bail hearing and was presented before the court by video link that was visible to the judge but not to the courtroom or media.

Neither the accused, his lawyer nor the prosecuting garda could be seen in court and only an audio link of their voices could be heard.

Other garda witnesses gave evidence in person.

Garda Ross Brierley could be heard on the link telling Judge Malone he spoke to Mr Tyrell on April 8, the day after gardai were given new legislation.

Distancing

Mr Tyrell was out in Coultry Park, Ballymun, with another male at 8.40am. Gda Brierley said he spoke to the accused and told him to leave the area, return home and not be "out unnecessarily".

Detective Garda Gerard Mullarkey said he was on duty at the Omni Shopping Centre, Santry, at 12.15pm on April 8. Mr Tyrell was there with another male, they were "hanging around" and could give no reason why they were in the area.

They were advised about social distancing and both said they were waiting for a taxi.

The gardai told them not to get a taxi together as they did not live at the same address.

Another alleged breach happened on April 13, but there was no garda to give evidence.

Garda Rachel Goggins said she saw the accused out at Coultry Drive, Ballymun, at 5.45pm on April 21. He was on the road and moved into a friend's garden as she approached.

She told him to go home and he "informed me that he would not comply", she said.

There were two other males in his company and he was "at all times uncooperative and wouldn't engage", she said.

She was aware there were two positive Covid-19 cases in Mr Tyrell's household.

Gda Brierley said when Mr Tyrell was arrested at his home he was lying on his couch in the sitting room in a communal area of the house "which the HSE wouldn't consider to be self-isolating".

The garda said he believed if the accused was granted bail he would "spread the virus".

The legislation on movement listed the reasons people could be outside, Gda Brierley said. The guidelines had been explained to Mr Tyrell in "simple English" and he had never said he was exercising, he added.

Cross-examined by defence solicitor Brian Keenan, gardai confirmed the accused was not ever outside the 2km limit.

Applying for bail, Mr Keenan said Mr Tyrell had instructed that he was exercising, which is permitted. Mr Keenan said his instructions were also that no one in the house was showing any symptoms of Covid-19.

Judge Malone refused bail and remanded the accused in custody, to appear at Cloverhill District Court on May 1.