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Rape drug doctor's plight featured in Cosmopolitan

By Victoria O'Hara

Published 30/04/2015

Eireann Kerr with her medal after completing the London Marathon
Eireann Kerr with her medal after completing the London Marathon

The story of a Northern Ireland doctor convicted of assaulting police officers after having her drink spiked with a date rape drug has been featured in international women's magazine Cosmopolitan.

It comes as a petition calling for justice for Dr Eireann Kerr has now almost 6,000 supporters from around the globe including the UK, Germany and America since its launch last Friday. The 34-year-old said she had been "overwhelmed" by the support from people.

Eireann, who lives in south Belfast but is originally from Strabane, had been on a Christmas night out with medical colleagues on December 13, 2013 when the incident occurred. A judge agreed she had been drugged without her knowledge, but he said his hands were tied by the law and so he had no choice but to convict.

The doctor, who ran the London Marathon at the weekend for a heart charity CRY, was working as an anaesthetist at Altnagelvin Hospital at the time. She described waking up in a police cell without belongings, covered in bruises and not knowing how she got there as the most "traumatic event" she had experienced.

She has so far raised around £4,000 for the charity. On her Facebook site she posted: "Again I feel overwhelmed by the support both in Northern Ireland and now further afield. I'm glad this message is finally getting out to all young women (and men) out there. Drink spiking is a real threat - the victims of this crime need to be supported and the criminals caught."

Cosmopolitan reported online that new research has found half of all women aged between 18 and 34 feel they're forced to leave drinks unattended on a night out - thanks to rules such as 'no drinks on the dancefloor'.

During the court case it emerged that a hair strand test showed that Dr Kerr had the date rape drug gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid HB in her system.

A judge agreed she had been drugged without her knowledge, but he said his hands were tied by the law and so he had no choice but to convict. She will now be investigated by the General Medical Council and could potentially be struck off.

Among the thousands who have signed the petition was Anthony Larkin from Germany who wrote: "The judgment is not fair".

Ruth Jones from Edinburgh said: "I am a young trainee doctor and realise this could have happened to myself or any one of my friends. I applaud her bravery."

And Denise Marshall from Washington DC said: "The court needs to do the right thing in this case and overturn the conviction of Dr Eireann Kerr as she was the victim."

Eireann was given a two-month conditional discharge this week, which is now being appealed.

Her lawyers are also asking the PPS to justify why the case was taken.

The PPS said in a recent statement: "We consider that it is in the public interest to prosecute those cases where there is evidence of an attack on emergency services staff, such as police, particularly when injuries are sustained by those staff.

"In the particular circumstances of this case, we offered the defendant a caution which she refused. We note that in subsequent court proceedings, the defendant was found guilty and sentenced accordingly. We respect the sentencing decision made.

"We can confirm that we have received from the defence team notice to appeal the court's decision and this matter is now subjudice. We will not provide any further comment on this case at this time".

The public petition calling for justice for Eireann Kerr can be found at http://tinyurl.com/koxp4kh

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