An anti-lockdown activist who refused to wear a face mask on a Bus Éireann has been sentenced to two months in prison.
Andrew Heasman (41) of Knock, Co Mayo had been asked by a bus driver last July to wear a mask properly when travelling from Dublin to Knock.
Garda Thomas Bowens told Castlebar District Court that Mr Heasman refused to comply, choosing instead to wear the mask “like a hat”, with a number of passengers disembarking as a result.
“He was wearing a mask on the top of his head like a hat,” Garda Bowens claimed.
“I told him there was a requirement in place that the mask should cover the face, mouth and nose.”
Heasman, who said the charges were “trumped up”, insisted he was exempt from wearing a mask on health grounds, and that no medical evidence had to be provided to the garda under data protection laws.
He told Garda Bowens, “I want to be left alone”, whilst recording the incident on his phone.
The defendant, who was travelling to his uncle’s funeral, was then taken from the bus in Ballyhaunis and arrested under the Health Act 1947.
Judge Fiona Lydon said the defendant’s behaviour had been ‘totally inappropriate” in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, and that the State had satisfied the requirements needed to secure a conviction of Mr. Heasman.
Mr. Heasman was sentenced to two months in jail, with a breach of public order charge also taken into account.