Hospital fundraiser ‘lashed out at nurse’

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A 26-year-old man accused of assaulting a nurse in Altnagelvin was closely involved in a fundraiser for the hospital last week, a court has heard.

Michael Cairns, of Galliagh Park, is charged with common assault on November 30. Londonderry Magistrates’ Court heard allegations Cairns lashed out at a nurse carrying out a coma scale test after he had been taken to hospital for treatment.

The nurse was carrying out the test because Cairns was not responding to her voice. She rubbed Cairns sternum a number of times to get a reaction and it is alleged as she did this he lashed out at her.

It is alleged the defendant punched the nurse on the face, grabbed her by the arm and shouted ‘f*** off’ at her. The nurse sustained redness and swelling to the right hand side of her face.

She gave a statement to police and said that in her opinion the movement of Cairn’s fist was not an involuntary action.

During police interview, Cairns said he could not remember the incident. The court heard after he was charged with the offence he replied ‘I am really, really sorry. It must have been a reaction, I didn’t do it on purpose’.

Opposing bail, an investigating officer said this was a ‘violent assault’ on a medical professional and police had concerns Cairns would commit further offences.

Defence counsel Eoghan Devlin said at the time the offence was allegedly committed Cairns was ‘not apparently conscious’.

He told the court the defendant was ‘heavily involved’ in a fundraiser for the hospital last week and was not someone who ‘regularly goes along to the hospital assaulting staff or causing a fuss’.

District Judge Barney McElholm released the defendant on his own bail of £750 and banned him from consuming non-prescribed drugs and from entering the grounds of Altnagelvin Hospital unless brought there in a medical emergency.

He will appear in court again on December 17.

Judge McElholm warned the defendant ‘he should be aware the only way people stay out of custody for matters like this is if they gather sufficient compensation. He needs to be attending to this immediately’.