Lochside Garage

Hospital staff attack ‘one-way ticket to jail’


The accident and emergency entrance to the South West Acute Hospital. RMGFH21

JUDGE has hit out at those who attack hospital staff and warned that those who do so will find themselves facing “a one-way ticket to jail”.
Deputy District Judge Chris Holmes made his remarks at Enniskillen Magistrates Court on Monday as he sentenced a 25-year-old woman.
Wendy McVitty of Nelson Park in Fivemiletown was charged with using disorderly behaviour at the South West Acute Hospital, Enniskillen, assaulting a nurse and resisting police.
The court heard that police were called to SWAH at 7am on December 19th last following a report of an assault on a staff member.
A representative from the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) outlined that McVitty was causing a disturbance and an obstruction while being treated in the Accident & Emergency department. Despite being given tea an toast by staff, her behaviour did not improve and she approached the nurses station and spat the toast out of her mouth at the duty sister and spilled tea.
McVitty also drew up her fists towards the nurse’s face who was in fear of being hit but she did not make contact with the nurse’s jaw. When police arrived at the scene and cautioned McVitty for the offence , she told officers to “shut up” and refused to co-operate as they attempted to handcuff her.
When later interviewed by police, the defendant told them that she had no recollection of the incident.
  Defence solicitor Niall Bogue said that while his client has mental health issues, he was aware that an aggravating factor in the case was the fact that the incident had taken place in hospital.
“My client accepted full responsibility and that no-one should have to accept this kind of violent behaviour. It was somewhat out of character for her but was the result of mixing her medication with excess alcohol,” Mr Bogue added.
After hearing the evidence, Judge Holmes told McVitty: “This was horrendous and no-one should have to put up with this kind of behaviour. Any threats to medical staff are a one-way ticket to jail. People with significant mental health issues are the only people who escape jail. We must protect hospital staff.”
McVitty was sentenced to 12 months probation with a warning that she must co-operate with their meetings and recommendations.

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