A 66-year-old grandmother from County Cork was jailed for the weekend after she refused to wear a face mask in court.
Margaret Buttimer of St. Fintan's Road in Bandon appeared before the Clonakilty District Court earlier this week for not wearing a face-covering at a local supermarket on February 12.
Judge Colm Roberts also heard that she abused the store manager when he asked if she had a medical reason for not wearing a face mask. She allegedly became agitated with store manager Gary Emerson, calling him an "asshole" and telling him that she only answers to God.
The court also heard that she told gardaí who arrived at the scene that she was only answerable to God. She also refused to provide her details and refused to wear a mask when she was brought to a local garda station.
Buttimer told the court that she didn't believe in masks but apologized to Emerson for calling him names and said that she hoped he could find it in his heart to forgive her.
She was found guilty of not wearing a mask in breach of Ireland's COVID-19 regulations.
Judge Colm Roberts told Buttimer that he couldn't understand her logic as she appeared to be a "very pleasant" woman.
However, Roberts said that there was a defiant aspect to her behavior and said "you can't just do what you want".
He said that Buttimer couldn't simply choose not to wear a seatbelt if she didn't believe in them or that she couldn't just walk out of a store without paying for goods if she believed that money was evil.
Roberts said that Buttimer was entitled to her relationship with God but not to the detriment of the rest of society. He also said that she seemed to be enjoying the attention surrounding the incident.
On Friday, Buttimer appeared before the Bandon District Court Friday without wearing a face mask, prompting Roberts to warn her that he would jail her for being in contempt of court.
Roberts remarked that Buttimer had a smile on her face as if the situation was funny to her.
"This is not funny. I don’t think you are appreciating the seriousness of this," he told her.
Finally, Roberts told Buttimer that he had no other choice but to remand her in custody over the weekend.
"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."
Buttimer will appear before the Bandon District Court again on Monday for sentencing and Roberts said that she had moved from defiance to "openly challenging the courts and the country".
Buttimer will also appear in court on June 14 in relation to a similar incident.