On a cold and rainy day on Monday, some people in Armidale were feeling the elements more than others.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, people who were due to appear in Armidal Local Court were forced to spend hours outside as they waited to be called.
Glen Innes resident Joe Sparks was one of around 12 to 14 people who spent the best part of the day waiting, as there was no listing of when each person's case was going to appear.
"So you've got to hang out there within ear shot of the front of the court, but the front of the court's got no seating and no protection from the weather," Mr Sparks said.
"The rain's coming in underneath the shelter they've got there. It was around seven degrees for most of the day...and it felt like temperature was dropping to minus four there during the middle of the day.
"We put up with it for a fairly long time....people's noses were red, their noses were running, your feet were so cold you can't feel them anymore and yet you feel like you can't actually go away in case you might miss your calling.
"I am asking, what is the court's duty of care to their customers to provide a safe waiting area?"
Mr Sparks raised that question with the Sheriff on duty, who explained the court had made a decision to only allow people directly appearing in court inside the building due to COVID restrictions.
The NSW Department of Justice has restrictions in place to allow only a certain capacity in certain areas of the building, following advice from NSW Health.
Mr Sparks said that after being adamant for most of the day that he couldn't allow any more people inside the building, the Sheriff did end up allowing the remaining six people inside in the afternoon.
"This is at 3.30pm mind you, the court shuts at 4pm," Mr Sparks said.
"And there's still six people waiting to appear after waiting for five hours in the freezing cold, so it was almost looking like they weren't going to get to appear at that point.
"And everyone was actually showing signs of being cold and frustrated.
"The point being, I think it seemed that the court, or he (Sheriff) changed his opinion on it after we made a bit of a fuss about it, because he did basically go back on what he'd been telling us all day."
Mr Sparks would like to see some other measures come into place, where the court could possibly call or send a text message shortly before someone is due to appear.
"It's just that thing where you felt like if you went you were going to miss your call," he said.
Editor's note: The Armidale Express contacted Adam Marshall's office who directed us to the court registrar, who then directed us to local court media who were attempted to be contacted for a statement.