Two jailed as judge warns attacks on nurses won't be tolerated
A man and woman were jailed for separate assaults and disorderly outbursts in a Belfast hospital.
Gerard Magee (34) and Ashley Fleming (23) received prison terms of five months and four months respectively for aggressive behaviour at the Royal Victoria Hospital.
Passing sentence at the city's Magistrates' Court, a district judge hit out at those who subject nurses and medical staff to abuse and the threat of violence.
Fiona Bagnall said: "This is unfortunately the type of behaviour that staff in our hospitals have to endure as a matter of course in their work."
Fleming, of Brown Street in Belfast, struck a nurse in the ribs and spat on a curtain partition on a ward after arriving drunk at the accident and emergency department on June 3.
She also threw resuscitation equipment and a defibrillator to the floor, although neither was damaged.
Fleming admitted charges of assault, criminal damage and attempted criminal damage.
According to a defence lawyer, Fleming's life has "spiralled out of control" since losing custody of her child.
Referring to his client's drug abuse, he told the court: "She was completely off her head (in the hospital) and can't recall anything about what happened."
Magee, of North Queen Street in the city, attended the Royal for treatment to his ear on May 19.
Prosecutors said he appeared drunk and started shouting abuse at staff. When asked to wait, he replied: "Don't treat me like a f****** 12-year-old," the court heard.
As security staff were called to the scene, one nurse was said to be in fear of the defendant during the incident.
Magee also claimed he was "going to sue the hospital and everyone in it", Mrs Bagnall was told. He was convicted of common assault and disorderly behaviour.
Defence barrister Conn O'Neill said Magee was dealing with bereavement following the deaths of "two key people in his life".
But Mrs Bagnall insisted hospital workers have been faced with unfair and inappropriate displays of disrespect "far too often".
She also ordered Magee to serve an extra month behind bars for a separate breach of a probation order.