Man jailed for kicking nurse in face

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A man who kicked a nurse in the face as he was being treated in Altnagelvin Hospital has been jailed for three months.

John James Smith, whose address was given on court papers as House in the Wells, Nailors Row, pleaded guilty to common assault on December 24, last year.

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard the 27-year-old had been taken to hospital by ambulance after overdosing on prescription medication. As he was being treated by accident and emergency staff he began flailing his arms and legs.

A male nurse entered the treatment room and asked Smith to stop but he was kicked in the face.

The nurse was left with swelling around his eye as a result of the assault.

Defence counsel Nicola Rowntree said it was accepted it was an “unsavoury incident” however told the court her client had “no recollection” of it.

She said Smith suffered from “complex mental health issues” which had “hit an all time low” on this night.

Ms Rowntree told the court the 27-year-old knows nurses are there to help and have helped him in the past. She added that Smith wished to apologise for any hurt or distress caused.

The barrister said her client accepted courts had a zero tolerance for this type of behaviour but urged the court to make an exception on this occasion’.

Jailing Smith for three months, District Judge Barney McElholm said the 27-year-old was not prepared or committed to cut out drinking and will keep offending.

He added that there was a severe problem with attacks on medical staff. The judge fixed bail for Smith to appeal the sentence, however refused to release him from custody.