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Patient who threatened doctor with fire extinguisher given suspended prison sentence

He had asked at Daisy Hill to be admitted to Bluestone but the doctor did not think this was the best option

A Newry man who threatened a doctor at Daisy Hill Hospital after being told he would not be admitted to Bluestone has been handed a suspended sentence.

In sentencing the 28-year-old, the district judge stated: “I am trying to provide a message to people that in a hospital in the local area behaviour such as this will be met with zero tolerance.”

Colin Shields, of Nursery Drive, had pleas of guilty entered on his behalf to common assault, disorderly behaviour and possession of Class B at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Prosecution outlined that on February 5, at 11.30pm, police received a report from a doctor claiming to have been attacked by a patient at Daisy Hill A&E.

The doctor stated that the patient, who was identified as the defendant, was threatening him with a fire extinguisher which he was holding in his right hand.

He stated that Shields was shouting and that he had been unable to calm the patient down.

The defendant was telling the doctor to admit him to Bluestone, however, the professional opinion was that this was not the best option.

Officers arrived at the scene and spoke to Shields who told them that he was going to “wreck the place”.

The defendant continued to shout as he was arrested, handcuffs were applied and he was conveyed to a cell van.

During a search a small quantity of cannabis was located. The defendant was cautioned for the offences before the court and made no reply.

Defence barrister Stephen Campbell stated: “This is disgraceful behaviour at any time but particularly in the current situation.”

The barrister explained that one month prior Shields had spent time at the Bluestone facility in Craigavon and felt he needed re-admitted, but it was accepted he had “gone about it in the wrong way”.

He also stated that the defendant had relatives that work in the healthcare profession at Daisy Hill Hospital and they were “ashamed at his actions”.

Mr Campbell added that Shields’ family were “not aware of the extent of his difficulties” but were there to assist him upon his release back into the community.

District Judge Eamonn King stated: “The court has an expectation to deal with offences of this type in a certain way going forward.

“He was demanding that a doctor admit him to Bluestone, that was contrary to the advice of his doctor. This has progressed from self-medicating with illegal drugs to self-diagnosing.”

The district judge continued: “This is even more compounded by the fact he has relatives that work in this hospital. It is also not lost on the court that he has been charged with possession of Class B.

“If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand time. If he were to stop he would see fewer visits to the hospital and fewer visits to Bluestone.”

He added: “I have a responsibility to the health care profession and the wider community. As a consequence of this he was remanded in custody after bail was refused in isolation at Maghaberry for a period of 14 days.

“I am trying to provide a message to people that in a hospital in the local area behaviour such as this will be met with zero tolerance.”

Shields was sentenced to four months in prison suspended for two years and was ordered to pay a fine of £200, along with the offender’s levy of £15.

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