Jailed for assaulting hospital doctor and nurse

A man who assaulted a staff nurse and a doctor in Altnagelvin Hospital has been jailed for eight months.

Tuesday, 18th September 2018, 10:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 18th September 2018, 10:23 am

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard 29-years-old Liam Carlin has 89 previous convictions and his record is almost solely due to his ‘alcohol and drug addiction.’

Carlin, of Bridge Street, pleaded guilty to assaulting the two medical staff on May 17.

The court heard that police were in attendance at Altnagelvin Hospital in the early hours of the morning when they heard raised voices coming from a cubicle where Carlin was being treated.

The officers were met by two members of staff who reported that they had been assaulted.

The staff nurse said Carlin had ‘swung his fist in a backhanded manner’ and struck her on the arm.

She said he then repeated the action, striking her again.

When a doctor came into the cubicle he also struck her on the arm.

The defendant was released on police bail but failed to answer the bail.

Carlin was arrested a short time later.

During police interview, the defendant accepted he may well have struck the doctor and the nurse. However, he claimed he could not remember.

Defence solicitor Seamus Quigley said given his client’s medical history he had many reasons to be grateful to medical staff.

The solicitor said that it was ‘alcohol and drugs’ that had led Carlin to the hospital on the night in question.

He added that alcohol and drugs which were the root cause of Carlin’s offending.

Mr Quigley said Carlin was not ‘seeking to deny the undeniable’ and had voiced his ‘remorse and regret.’

He told the court his client is well aware the attitude taken by the court towards assaults on medical staff.

Mr Quigley also revealed that Carlin had been attending Alcoholics Anonymous, but was still drinking. The solicitor described this as ‘pointless’.

Passing sentence, District Judge Barney McElholm said that for anyone to attend AA while continuing to drink was simple ‘window dressing.’

He added that anyone assaulting medical staff can expect a custodial sentence, unless there were major extenuating circumstances.

The judge said there were no extenuating circumstances in this case and jailed Carlin for eight months. He also imposed an offender levy of £25.