AN ENNISKILLEN man who sexually assaulted a paramedic and a police officer while on “legal highs” has been given a chance to avoid jail.
Melvyn Bussell (33), of Cleenish Park in Enniskillen, appeared at Enniskillen Magistrates Court on Monday for sentencing after previously being found guilty of two counts of common assault, two counts of assault on police, two counts of sexual assault, attempted sexual assault, resisting police, and attempted criminal damage.
On August 24 last year police were called to assist an ambulance crew on the Cornagrade Road, and when they arrived Bussell was being restrained in the back of the ambulance. His jeans and belt were undone and his underwear was exposed.
The ambulance had been called to Bussell’s home and on the way to hospital he began to make unwanted sexual advances towards a female member of the crew, rubbing her leg and simulating oral sex.
Bussell was warned to stop. He then began trying to pull things from the wall of the ambulance, such as a defibrillator. When a female crew member tried to stop him, he put his hand inside her shirt, ripping off a button and touching the top of her chest, leaving her underwear exposed. Bussell also tried to hit and kicked out at a male member of staff.
When police arrived, Bussell tried to head-butt one officer when he tried to arrest him, and attempted to strike out and bite another.
The following morning, a police interview with Bussell had to be suspended when he engaged in lewd behaviour. He then grabbed one of the two female police officers on the bottom as he left.
Bussell, who has a serious a brain injury from a car crash in 2002, later said he couldn’t remember the events of the evening of August 24 or the following morning due to the large amount of legal highs he had taken.
His defence team had previously argued Bussell was not fit to be tried over the offences due to his brain injury, submitting medical reports, including one a forensic neuro-psychiatrist. However this was not accepted by the court.
Defence barrister Gavin Cairns explained Bussell had difficulty with speech and his mother, who accompanied him to court, assisted him as an interpreter. He said Bussell was being greatly supported in his efforts to deal with his issues, including drugs, by his mother and a local clergy man.
District Judge Nigel Broderick said he understood Bussell had “complex needs” but said the defendant’s drug taking was the relevant issue.
Mr Cairns, who said there was “cause for optimism” with Bussell’s engagement with support services, asked Judge Broderick to consider delaying sentencing to allow the defendant time to continue to engage with probation. He pointed out Bussell had not offended since the incident in question and had no pending matters before the court.
Judge Broderick said he understood Bussell’s difficulties but told the defendant what he had done was “totally unacceptable” and there was “no good excuse” for his behaviour.
The judge added while Bussell had complex need due to injuries from the car crash, it had been his drug use that had led to his offending. He stated the court had a zero tolerance approach to those who assaulted medical staff, never mind sexually assaulted, and police officers.
Judge Broderick added, however, he could not ignore Bussell’s medical needs, and granted Mr Cairn’s request to defer sentencing, adjourning the case until January 16, 2017. He ordered Bussell to engage with probation services on his drug use, and to undergo an assessment by a psychologist.
He told Bussell if he did not engage, or if he reoffended, in the coming months, his medical needs would have to be looked after in prison.
To read more.. Subscribe to current edition
Posted: 9:25 pm October 12, 2016