A District Judge has ordered a period of imprisonment for a 54-year-old woman charged with common assault on two Causeway Hospital Nurses, biting one during the incident on February 26 this year.
The defendant, who had a previously clear record, was an inpatient at Causeway Hospital during the incident.
The court heard that the defendant was observed leaving the ward without footwear and was asked by a nurse to put on shoes in case she slipped.
Appearing at Coleraine Magistrates’ court on Friday, September 4, it was heard that Norma Dickie (54) Priestland Road Bushmills took offensive to this, becoming verbally abusive.
The defendant grabbed the ward sister by the wrists before biting her. The court further heard the defendant then punched the victim to the side of the face, holding her by the throat and forcing her backwards.
Continuing to hold the nurse by the throat, the defendant pulled the victim’s hair before delivering a knee to the groin, the court was told.
Another nurse who intervened in the incident to help her colleague was also assaulted during the incident.
Police were called to the hospital and observed the injuries to the nurse before interviewing the defendant after a Doctor confirmed she was fit to talk.
Defence Barrister Mr Thomas McKeiver told the court that the defendant had been admitted to hospital due to ‘poor physical health’ and had been taking medication but ‘hadn’t slept in five days’.
Mr McKeiver said the defendant has no memory of the incident and described the incident as a ‘dream’.
District Judge Peter King spoke to the defendant in the dock, telling her: “This courts job is to protect those who serve the community and if by doing that I have to send out a strong message that certain types of behaviour will never be tolerated, then, unfortunately, I have to do that.
“This sort of behaviour can never be tolerated, especially in the context of a global pandemic.”
Judge King sentenced the defendant to four months imprisonment on one charge and two months on the other, to be served concurrently. The defendant was also asked to pay a £25 offenders levy.
Escaping immediate custody, however, the defence in the case asked the Judge to grant leave for an appeal, which Judge King approved.
The defendant was released on her own bail of £750.