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Magistrates play safe after chicken pox scare
The day after Prisons Commissioner Martin Martinez denied there was a chicken pox outbreak at the Port-of-Spain and Golden Grove Prisons, several magistrates at the Port-of-Spain Magistrates Court yesterday stopped hearing cases after they heard an infected prisoner had been brought to court.
One magistrate adjourned her cases to dates next month while another walked out after she learned several prisoners before her court had been kept in the same cell as the infected prisoner. The prisoner was brought from the Central Police Station, Port-of-Spain, and had been arrested on Friday.
Three people, arrested on the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway, Aranguez, on Sunday, were brought to court yesterday morning but were not brought up to the Sixth Court after Sgt Edward Edmund told Magistrate Carl Quamina they had been exposed to the virus and would pose a threat to the public, police and lawyers.
A decision was taken later to grant them bail in absentia and the matters were adjourned to February 7. Although the Prisons Commissioner said alternative arrangements would be put in place for cases involving infected prisoners, magistrates yesterday expressed concern about the risks involved.
Officials confirmed although spraying operations were carried out on Friday afternoon only the prison cells were cleaned and thoroughly sanitized.
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