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Thug who went berserk in Fermanagh A&E warned by judge he faces prison

By Michael Donnelly

Published 04/05/2016

Attacker: Jason Magerr
Attacker: Jason Magerr

A 26-year-old man who went berserk and assaulted a nurse and a porter in a hospital accident and emergency department has been warned he could be jailed later this month.

A judge told Jason Magerr that attacks on hospital staff would not be tolerated.

Judge Paul Ramsey QC said that while the custody threshold in his case had been crossed, he wished to consider submissions and medical reports before passing sentence.

Magerr, of Carnmore Lodge, Cornagrade, Enniskillen, had admitted two counts of common assault, damaging a nurse’s glasses, together with hospital equipment including a computer monitor, at the town’s South West Acute Hospital on June 21 last year.

Prosecution lawyer Michael McAleer told Omagh Crown Court Magerr’s outburst was captured on CCTV, which presented the court “with a picture which paints a thousand words”, allowing him to limit his submissions.

Mr McAleer also revealed that in addition to being seen punching and kicking out at staff, over £3,000 worth of damage to equipment, including a staff member’s glasses, was caused by Magerr after he was taken to the A&E department with self-inflicted wounds.

At one stage he even grabbed a pair of scissors and self-harmed again.

Although a nurse was initially able to quieten things down, Magerr turned on her.

Police were called in after it was reported that he was wrecking the place and attacking staff, but he left before they arrived.

Mr McAleer said while the criminal damage charges were the more serious, the most aggravating feature of the case was his attack on hospital staff, and the court might wish to impose a deterrent sentence.

Defence lawyer Gavyn Cairns said that Magerr wished to make a complete and unreserved apology to hospital staff. 

This, he said, copper-fastened a letter he had written earlier, and given to the court, without any prompting from legal advisers.

Mr Cairns said it showed genuine remorse for what was disgraceful and outrageous behaviour on the part of Magerr, who acknowledged that the custody threshold had been crossed.

The defence lawyer said that his client has had a protracted history of prescription drug and alcohol abuse, but which in the past eight months he has been trying to tackle with the aid of a local group.

Mr Cairns said Magerr had already served a sentence equivalent of the maximum for common assault, been given credit for his guilty pleas, and that the court, through its various options, could deal with him by way of an additional penalty and leave something hanging over his head.

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