Jailed for hospital disorderly

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

A man who was abusive to staff in Altnagelvin Hospital has been jailed.

Joseph Harkin, of Altcar Park, pleaded guilty to disorderly behaviour, assaulting and resisting police.

The 52-year-old also admitted causing damage to a PSNI vehicle on May 30.

Derry Magistrates Court heard police were called to the accident and emergency department because Harkin was being abusive to staff.

He had been in the department for four hours and had refused to be assessed by the medical staff.

Harkin became abusive and aggressive and began kicking doors in the department.

Hospital staff refused to treat him until he was sober.

Police tried to reason with the 52-year-old however he ‘lunged’ from his chair and attempted to head butt an officer.

Harkin was arrested and he struggled with police. He also tensed his arms as they put handcuffs on him.

The court heard he was taken into the police car and spat inside it.

The car had to be removed from service and deep cleaned at a cost of £45.

Defence solicitor Seamus Quigley said his client has struggled with alcohol and drug abuse for the last 30 years.

He said Harkin’s criminal record was a ‘testament to that fact’.

The court heard the 52-year-old has been in custody since the beginning of June and has served an equivalent of a four month sentence.

District Judge Barney McElholm jailed Harkin for four months.