Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Man who verbally abused nurse after suicide attempt 'behaved scandalously'

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A man who verbally abused and squared up to a nurse trying to treat him after a suicide attempt behaved "scandalously", a judge said today

Gerard Toner was given a three month suspended jail sentence for the assault in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital.

The 22-year-old, of Rockville Street in the city, had binged on drink and diazepam drugs before attempting to hang himself in May.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard police were called to the hospital because of his behaviour on admission.

Prosecutors said he was abusive and confrontational to staff.

Although no physical assault took place the nurse had to move out of the way, fearing she was going to be hit.

Toner was detained and found to have a small quantity of cannabis resin on him.

He pleaded guilty to common assault and possession of Class B drugs.

Toner's lawyer said he has no memory of the incident but accepts the seriousness of his behaviour in the hospital.

"He's ashamed and has written a letter of apology to the nurse in question," he told the court.

Deputy District Judge Gerry Trainor described it as an "appalling situation" for a member of staff trying to treat Toner and other patients.

"The fear you put her in and the other persons doing their job that night is scandalous," he told the defendant.

Taking a probation report into account, the judge imposed a total of three months in prison, suspended for two years, for both charges.

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