Murder trial halted as lawyer's wife tested for coronavirus

A MURDER trial has been called off today after revelations a Townsville barrister has self-isolated while his nurse wife is being tested for coronavirus.

The trial of Daniel Andrew Novley was due to begin today, but court proceedings were halted before a jury could be empanelled after defence barrister Scott Geeves' wife was asked to attend Townsville University Hospital for testing.

Mr Geeves had also spent time at the Townsville Correctional Centre yesterday.

Appearing via phone, Mr Geeves told Supreme Court Northern Judge justice David North he had yet to leave his chambers but would be going home to self-isolate shortly after the case was mentioned in court.

"Earlier this morning I was contacted by my wife, who is a theatre nurse at the Mater Hospital, that she had been advised by her employers to attend the Townsville (University) Hospital immediately," Mr Geeves said.

"She started feeling unwell yesterday afternoon and she is currently being tested for the coronavirus as we speak.

"I understand those results may be available within 24 to 48 hours and I suspect that she will be self-isolating in the interim.

"My children are also at home as we speak, they haven't been sent to school this morning and I haven't left chambers."

 

A murder trial at Townsville Supreme Court has been postponed after a barrister was forced to self isolate. Picture: Shae Beplate.
A murder trial at Townsville Supreme Court has been postponed after a barrister was forced to self isolate. Picture: Shae Beplate.

 

Mr Geeves said his instructing solicitor, Zoe Navarro, had informed the jail because the pair had been at the jail for several hours with Mr Novley yesterday.

Ms Navarro also appeared via phone.

"We will of course keep the jail updated with any results of testing as they come," he said. "In those circumstances, it would appear to me at the very least, it would be difficult to commence the trial in these circumstances."

 

 

Justice North adjourned the court until tomorrow, to give time for results to be given.

"When the results of your wife's testing are known, you and also the court will be in a better place to know what to do," he said.

"Hopefully the results of your testing will in, and known and also negative for the virus."

Mr Geeves said he would speak to Crown prosecutions before close of business today if he was aware of any results or not.

Justice North told Mr Novley, who appeared in the courtroom, the case would not continue until he had a "well and fit" counsel.

"These things happen, they're out of the control of the courts, certainly," he said.

The case will be mentioned again tomorrow.

 


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