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Alleged thief removed from Vancouver courthouse for not wearing a mask

Vancouver courthouse sheriffs were quick to remove a man from first a courtroom and then the building after he refused to put on a mask at a judge's request
A maskless man was removed from the Vancouver Provincial Courthouse on Jan. 10 after refusing to comply with a judge's direction to put a mask on.

A man accused of theft under $5,000 had to be removed from the Vancouver Provincial Courthouse on Monday for not wearing a mask. 

Jonathan Grant Goodfellow was scheduled to appear in the so-called initial appearance room, an online appearance presided over by a justice of the peace.

After first wandering into one courtroom, Goodfellow agitatedly burst into another and sat down. A sheriff soon asked why he was there. Goodfellow jumped up and approached the bench. He was intercepted and offered a mask by the sheriff.

"Put that mask on or leave. You're breathing all over people," said Vancouver Provincial Court Judge Elisabeth Burgess.

Goodfellow did not comply, saying nothing.

Again, the judge told him to mask up. When he again did not listen, the sheriff removed him with a minor confrontation ensuing at the door.

From there, Goodfellow went to the building lobby, where more sheriffs moved him outside. He was back at the entrance soon, kicking the doors.

The incident spurred further conversation back in the courtroom about wearing masks.

"It is my requirement, and I believe most of the judges are doing that," Burgess said.

"I'm quite surprised they allowed him in the building without a mask," said Crown lawyer Louise Gauld via video.

Indeed, the building is covered in COVID-19 notices, including requirements (and instructions) for mandatory mask-wearing.

The provincial court's most recent COVID-19 protocol dates from Sept. 21. It includes an order from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry about common areas. 

In those places, "any people attending courthouses in British Columbia are still required to wear a face mask, including in entrances, lobbies, waiting areas, registries, hallways, stairways, restrooms and elevators," said the Oct. 13 court notification.

The court did not respond to a request for comment on those protocols via its online media request form.

The situation occurred as B.C.'s COVID case count continued to climb.

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