The trial of two Dublin women accused of refusing to go to a mandatory quarantine hotel after returning from a “boob job” trip to Dubai has been delayed pending a constitutional challenge.
Mother-of-two Kirstie McGrath, 30, with an address at St Anthony’s Road, Dublin 8 and Niamh Mulreany, 25, a mum of one from Scarlett Row, Essex Street West, Dublin 2 were arrested on the afternoon of April 2nd at Terminal 2 in Dublin airport.
The two friends, who deny the charges, had just returned from the United Arab Emirates.
A district court bail hearing last Saturday was told they went abroad for breast enhancement surgery, which the then presiding judge remarked was colloquially known as a “boob job”.
Gardai allegedly spent almost two hours trying to explain the new regulations to the women after they arrived back, but they claimed they did not know about the law change or have the hotel fees.
Bail was originally set at €2,800 and they were remanded in custody pending partial cash lodgements by the defendants and their sureties.
On Sunday, however, the High Court released them. It reduced the bail amount, removed the requirement for sureties and money to be lodged, and allowed them to go straight to the quarantine hotel.
The High Court was also told they did not have the cosmetic surgery procedures but that was the purpose of their trip to Dubai.
The case resumed on Friday at Dublin District Court, but they did not have to attend.
Defence solicitor Claire Finnegan told Judge Treasa Kelly that judicial review proceedings have been brought in the High Court. On Sunday it placed a stay on the district court prosecution pending the outcome of the challenge.
The matter is due back before the High Court on April 20 and she asked for the district court proceedings to be adjourned until a later date. “Nothing can be determined in advance of the judicial review,” Ms Finnegan said.
Disclosure of prosecution evidence has been provided to the women’s solicitor.
Judge Kelly said the District Court had to wait for the outcome of the High Court challenge. She adjourned the case for four weeks when it will be listed for mention.
Breaking the 14-day hotel quarantine law for travellers arriving in the State can result in a €2,000 fine and a sentence of up to one-month in jail.
The defence had said at their first hearing that his client denies the charges. They had also provided three negative PRC tests in the week before their return.
The new measure introduced to prevent the spread of coronavirus makes it mandatory for people to isolate in specific hotels after arriving from 58 states or if they have not had a negative covid test taken within 72 hours.
The two women surrendered passports and must remain contactable by phone. They were told they could leave the hotel after 10 days if they tested negative for covid-19.