Trial for secularism law temporarily suspended due to COVID-19 case

qs9998799b

MONTREAL — The trial for Quebec's secularism law has been suspended temporarily after a person who came into the courtroom — the child of a lawyer involved in the case — has since tested positive for COVID-19.

Superior Court Judge Marc-André Blanchard was informed of the infection on Thursday morning. 

The child attended the trial in person earlier this week, in the Montreal courtroom where it's being held. 

The judge suspended the trial for Thursday afternoon. He is due meet with lawyers on Friday morning.

The much-anticipated trial of the law — known before its passing as Bill 21 — is taking place in one of the largest rooms of the Montreal courthouse.

The capacity is limited to 39 due to COVID-19 and masks are mandatory except for witnesses when they speak. 

Normally about 20 lawyers are present in the room. Blanchard asked those who didn't have to question or cross-examine the witnesses to follow the proceedings of the trial by videoconference.

The trial is scheduled for five to six weeks and began on Nov. 2. It may continue virtually.

Adopted in June 2019 by the National Assembly, the law on the secularism of the state prohibits the wearing of religious symbols to certain provincial employees when they exercise of their functions, including police officers, public prosecutors, prison guards, as well as teachers in public primary and secondary schools.

— this report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 19, 2020.

SIGN UP NOW

Stay up-to-date and in-the-know by subscribing to one of our newsletters