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Race abuse mum-to-be given chance to avoid jail

Shauna Quinn

A woman who was "almost inevitably" facing jail for racially abusing a doctor trying to treat her has had her case adjourned because she is pregnant.

Adjourning the case against Shauna Quinn to January 29 next year, Judge Patrick Lynch QC warned her that if there were negative reports from the probation and community addiction teams, "you are going to prison".

Last January 24-year-old Quinn was handed a four-month prison sentence at Lisburn Magistrates Court after she admitted using disorderly behaviour at the accident and emergency department at Lagan Valley Hospital, a sentence which she appealed on Wednesday at the County Court.

Prosecuting counsel Eoin McDonald told the court that when the doctor called Quinn to be triaged at the busy emergency department on September 26 last year, she shouted out, "I'm not going to be seen by a black doctor. I won't go with that n*****".

Quinn was warned about her behaviour, but she continued to shout at staff and remained in the hospital until the police arrived.

Defence solicitor Tony Caher said that his client, from Aspen Park in Dunmurry, was due to give birth to her child in December and that since becoming pregnant she has been in regular contact with the community addiction nurse.

He added that Quinn had split up with and moved away from her previous boyfriend, who was "arrested on an almost weekly basis", and is now "totally focused on the child and making sure that the child will come into the world in the best of health".

Judge Lynch said although "the court's view in relation to this sort of activity in hospital is that imprisonment is just about inevitable", because of Quinn's pregnancy, "I'm prepared to put the case back to give her a chance".

He told the defendant, who appeared at court via videolink from Mr Caher's office: "I'm giving you a chance simply because of your current condition.

"If you go back in any way whatsoever in terms of committing further offences, you know you will go to prison.

"You are being given a chance to prove yourself."

Belfast Telegraph