Londonderry date rape drug victim ends her court appeal

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A doctor, formerly based at Altnagelvin in Lononderry, who had vowed to challenge her sentence for assaulting police whilst under the influence of a date rape drug has dropped her appeal.

Dr Eireann Kerr, 32, had attracted a wave of online support after colleagues claimed that her career could be jeopardised as a result of her conviction.

The trial judge accepted that Dr Kerr’s drink had been spiked with gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), which has been used as a date rape drug.

However, she was found guilty of assault.

She was also found gulity of resisting an officer, and disorderly behaviour.

She received a two-month conditional discharge.

Dr Kerr’s barrister Eoghan Devlin told a Londonderry court: “The sentence will be affirmed.””

Hospital anaesthetist Dr Kerr was recently convicted of a series of offences committed after she attended a Christmas party with work colleagues in Londonderry in December 2013.

The doctor insists she has no memory of the events.

A concerned Londonderry taxi driver had taken her to a police station, where she had then committed the offences.

Dr Kerr, of Marlborough Park South in South Belfast, woke up in a police cell and upon release she went to hospital to get blood tests – an examination that found traces of date rape drug GHB.

The district judge who convicted her at Londonderry Magistrates’ Court said he had no doubt her drink had been spiked, but explained involuntary intoxication was not a defence in law.

The doctor claims that the convictions have put her medical career at risk.

A high-profile campaign to clear the medic’s name attracted 8,974 signatures in an online petition.

Her colleagues at Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry, where she trained for a year before moving to Belfast, launched a petition on the website www.change.org urging the PPS to drop the case at appeal.

According to the US government’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, the effects of GHB can include euphoria, drowsiness and decreased anxiety, confusion, memory loss, hallucinations, and excited and aggressive behaviour.

In the UK it is a Class C drug, and possession can carry a two-year jail term.

GHB is available as an odorless, colorless drug that is known to have been combined with alcohol and given to unsuspecting victims prior to sexual assaults.

It may have a soapy or salty taste.

Use for sexual assault has resulted in GHB being known as a “date rape” drug.

Victims become incapacitated due to the sedative effects of GHB, and they are unable to resist sexual assault. GHB may also induce amnesia.