Limavady Courthouse: Man who abused hospital staff handed “last chance” by judge

Limavady Courthouse
Limavady Courthouse

A 21-year-old Limavady man who was abusive to staff in Altnagelvin Hospital had drank “an extortionate amount of alcohol” at a party earlier that evening, a court has been told.

Brian O’Hagan from Sperrin Road appeared at Limavady Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday where he pleaded guilty to a number of offences. Sentencing has been deferred until March 3, 2015 for disorderly behaviour at Altnagelvin Hospital on September 27, and with theft of a bottle of alcohol on the same date from Tesco, Limavady. O’Hagan also pleaded guilty to entering as a trespasser a dwelling in Ballykelly on a date unknown between February 19 and February 25 and stealing a television, and possession of a Class B drug on October 1.

Outlining the facts, the prosecution said on February 24, a check on a show house in Ballykelly discovered a smashed window, blood marks on the wall and a 32-inch television was missing. Blood samples were taken and subsequently identified as belonging to O’Hagan. During interview he denied the charges, and said he had previously been in the house as it was open and he wanted a look as he was thinking of moving house.

On September 27, police were called to Tesco in Limavady where O ‘Hagan had been stopped by security staff. O’Hagan had concealed a bottle of alcohol to the value of £14, or thereabouts inside his coat but, when stopped it fell out. The bottle didn’t break and was fit for re-sale.

Later that evening, O’Hagan had suffered cuts and was in the A&E Department at Altnagelvin at approximately 7.30pm. He was abusive to staff and said: “F*** off. This place is a s***hole.” The court heard the A&E was busy at the time and O’Hagan’s behaviour was upsetting people. He proceeded to call a doctor a *fat w****”, and continued to be verbally abusive. When he was taken outside he said he was “glad to be out of this s***hole” and shouted *f*** away off* in a police officer’s face. When arrested he shouted: “F*** away off you auld b******”.

On October 1, at 9.15pm on the Greystone Road in Limavady, O’Hagan was spotted by police acting suspiciously. He was subsequently found to have in his possession one gram of herbal cannabis, with a street value of £10. He told police it was cannabis and added: “I’m sorry.”

Defence for O’Hagan described the events as “unsavoury”, and said O’Hagan was struggling with alcohol and drugs.

“He has been on a self destruction path since the age of 14 when his criminal career began,” the defence told the court. She said O’Hagan’s behaviour in the A&E was “completely out of character”, and explained he had been at a party earlier that evening and drank “an extortionate amount of alcohol”, and fallen on glass and received cuts. She said O’Hagan’s reality came crashing down around him when he had been sentenced to five months in jail, an experience he had found very difficult. She said O’Hagan went “off the rails” when he was released from prison, but has “a motivation to change” and “knows he needs to break the cycle of offending”.

District Judge Liam McNally told O’Hagan the last time they had met, his tolerance had come to an end and he sentenced him to a period in jail.

However, Judge McNally said he would defer sentence until March 3, and told O’Hagan “the onus is on you” to “stay out of trouble” and not commit any further offences. He warned O’Hagan if he offends in the meantime he will sentence him to 10 months in jail.

“It’s really your last chance,” Judge McNally told O’Hagan.

Judge McNally also ordered O’Hagan to pay £100 to The Friends of Altnagelvin.