A man has failed to appear in court after discovering a connection with a positive coronavirus case, his lawyer says.

The man was due to appear in Wellington District Court this morning, but his lawyer told Judge Barbara Morris he was instead in self-isolation after a member of his family had contact with someone who had tested positive for the virus.

It is not the first case of someone missing their court appearance because of the virus.

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Yesterday a man was held in the police cells and missed his appearance in the North Shore District Court because he told officers he had been tested for coronavirus.

He had been arrested overnight for a previous failure to appear in the Hamilton District Court.

"The person was isolated while in custody with police following all necessary procedures to manage the situation, including liaising with health officials," a police spokesperson said.

"As a precaution, the person was not taken to court for a scheduled appearance this morning, and has been remanded on bail in self-isolation at home, to appear in Hamilton District Court on 23 June."

But further inquiries revealed the man had already returned a negative result by the time he was arrested.

And an accused murderer objected to having to appear in court via audio visual link.

The 39-year-old is charged with murdering a fellow inmate at New Zealand's only maximum security prison.

He appeared on a television screen in a North Shore District Court courtroom yesterday on the charge of being one of the four men who murdered Blake John Lee.


Lee died at Auckland Prison in Paremoremo on March 5.

The accused's lawyer, Ron Mansfield, said his client had instructed him to object to appearing via audio-visual link.

Mansfield told the court he understood the decision was made because of limitations on Corrections staff because of coronavirus and security concerns.

Judge Pippa Sinclair noted the objection but indicated the reasons for the video appearance were strong.

It followed last night's announcement by Chief Justice Helen Winkelmann to suspend all new jury trials for two months because of the health crisis. She said maintaining correct hygiene requirements in the court system was unrealistic.

"There is a special onus on the courts to protect the health of jurors who are performing an important civic duty."