Zero tolerance to attacks on staff at Altnagelvin

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District Judge Philip Mateer has told a 26 years-old man who was disorderly in Altnagelvin Hospital that society has a zero tolerance attitude to attacks on members of the medical profession.

Paul Burke of Copperthorpe was already on a suspended sentence for spitting at a traffic warden when he committed the new offences in the hospital, Derry Magistrate’s Court was told.

The court heard that on July 21, the defendant who was at the hospital, had been screaming expletives at staff.

The department was full of patients at the time, however Burke continued to hurl abuse and shout a****le.

He was subsequently arrested for disorderly behaviour.

Defence solicitor Paddy MacDermott said his client was in the hospital because he was the victim of a serious assault and was receiving treatment for it.

“In fact the injury was so serious that my client needed surgery for it two weeks later,” he said.

He added that his client was a self employed man who helped with various charity events and asked the court to give him credit for pleading guilty at the first opportunity.

District Judge Philip Mateer said there was zero tolerance for these type of attacks.

“You do have a lengthy record,” he said. “You were on a suspended sentence for cutting up rough with a traffic warden.

“These people are out doing a job just as you are doing a job.”

Mr Mateer activated the previous suspended sentence of four months and ordered it should run concurrently with the four months he imposed on the disorderly charge. Burke was later granted leave to appeal and released on his own bail of £250.