A teenager charged with assault after allegedly spitting at a garda and then claiming he had the Covid-19 virus has claimed the incident was only "a big joke".
Adam Olden (19) appeared before a special sitting of Cork District Court arising out of an alleged incident in the early hours of yesterday morning.
The matter unfolded after gardai attended a reported incident in the Deanrock Estate in Togher at 2.30am.
It is alleged that Mr Olden approached one of the officers, spat at him and then claimed that he had the coronavirus.
The teenager was arrested and taken to the Bridewell Garda Station for questioning.
Judge John King was told that Mr Olden, of Leamlara Close, Togher, Cork, was charged with assault and with two offences under the Public Order Act.
The judge was told by Inspector Pat Murphy that Mr Olden has now insisted the incident was "a joke".
Sergeant Kevin Joyce said that the defendant "is now claiming this morning that it was all a big joke".
However, the court heard that gardai were taking the matter very seriously given the current public health emergency.
Insp Murphy said that, as a result of the incident, "Mr Olden has taken two garda off the streets".
The garda who was allegedly spat at is now in precautionary self-isolation.
Because of the nature of the alleged incident, the officers involved are bound to comply with precautionary protocols introduced.
Judge King queried whether the teenager had displayed any symptoms of Covid-19.
Defence solicitor Eddie Burke said that his client did not have any of the symptoms of the virus.
Mr Burke said Mr Olden was a hard-working young man who had never come to garda attention before. He said that his client would comply with any bail conditions required by gardai.
Judge King queried whether the defendant should now be required to self isolate.
His family however, had assured his legal counsel that he had shown no symptoms of ill health but would, if required, take any medical tests now required by the State.
The teenager works in a grocery shop.
The judge granted bail but imposed a number of conditions, including that Mr Olden abide by an 8pm to 6am curfew, stay away from intoxicants and inform gardai with 24 hours' notice if he intends to leave his nominated address.
He was remanded to appear before Cork District Court on April 1, though his presence was excused.
The case will be only listed for mention on that date, pending preparation of a case file by gardai.
Mr Olden's mother has agreed to serve as independent surety for his remand on bail.