26-year-old accused of assaulting nurse

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.
The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

A 26-year-old man accused of assaulting a nurse in Altnagelvin Hospital was closely involved in a fundraiser for the hospital last week, a court has heard.

Michael Cairns, whose address was given on court papers as Galliagh Park, is charged with common assault on November 30.

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard allegations Cairns had been taken to hospital for treatment.

The nurse carrying out a coma scale test on the 26-year-old because he was not responding to her voice.

The nurse rubbed Cairns sternum a number of times to get a reaction and it is alleged the third time she did this he lashed out at her.

It is alleged the defendant punched the nurse on the face, grabbed her by the arm and shouted ‘f*** off’ at her.

The nurse sustained redness and swelling to the right hand side of her face.

She gave a statement to police and said that in her opinion the movement of Cairn’s fist was not an involuntary action.

During police interview, Cairns said he could not remember the incident and the only thing he could remember was waking up in custody.

The court heard after he was charged with the offence the defendant said ‘I am really, really sorry. It must have been a reaction, I didn’t do it on purpose’.

Opposing bail, an investigating officer said this was a ‘violent assault’ on a medical professional and police had concerns Cairns would commit further offences.

He added that in the last five months the 26-year-old has been convicted of five offences.

Defence counsel Eoghan Devlin said the proposed bail address was with his client’s mother and this would be a ‘more secure and safer environment’ than custody.

The barrister said at the time the offence was allegedly committed Cairns was ‘not apparently conscious’ but the case was unlikely to trouble the court.

He told the court the defendant was ‘heavily involved’ in a fundraiser for the hospital last week and was not someone who ‘regularly goes along to the hospital assaulting staff or causing a fuss’.

District Judge Barney McElholm released the defendant on his own bail of £750 to reside with his mother.

Cairns is banned from consuming non-prescribed drugs and from entering the grounds of Altnagelvin Hospital unless brought there in a medical emergency.

He will appear in court again on December 17.

Judge McElholm warned the defendant ‘he should be aware the only way people stay out of custody for matters like this is if they gather sufficient compensation. He needs to be attending to this immediately’.