Martin Daniel McStravick, aged 48, from Sloanhill Court, appeared before Craigavon Magistrates Court on Wednesday accused of two charges of common assault and one of assaulting an ambulance worker.
A Prosecutor told the court at around 9.20 on Christmas Eve an ambulance was called to the defendant who was found laying on the ground outside a pub in Edward Street, Lurgan. He had a cut to his head and was taken to Craigavon Hospital where he claimed to ambulance staff he had been assaulted. While waiting to be triaged he became unruly. He climbed back into the ambulance and spat in the face of an ambulance worker who treated him earlier.
"The security staff were made aware and they went outside to prevent any further incidents. Two members of hospital staff tried to get the defendant either to calm down or to allow himself to get treated or else he would have to leave. Eventually he was still misbehaving outside the doors of the Accident and Emergency Department and he dropped a bottle of Buckfast which smashed on the ground,” said the Prosecutor who added the defendant assaulted two porters and police were called.
The defendant was arrested and handcuffed. Initially he declined hospital treatment and was taken to the custody where he declined assistance. The Prosecutor added that McStravick “deteriorated” and was taken back to Craigavon Hospital where he was treated and returned to custody two hours later. During interview he said he couldn’t remember anything.
"During the course of the interview he said he had a ‘wee bit to drink’ and claimed he was headbutted outside the bar and an ambulance appeared. He had a bottle and a half of Buckfast at 11am on Christmas Eve morning but claimed he was sober when he was assaulted.
"He denied lashing out and then stated he couldn’t remember and said ‘I do regret what’s happened. I didn’t intend to put anybody in fear. No I wasn’t intoxicated. I was just annoyed with the security staff but I accept I was hostile and aggressive’." The Prosecutor added McStravick said he couldn’t recall spitting on the ambulance worker.
McStravick’s barrister Conor Lunney said: “He clearly wasn’t in a great frame of mind and was angry with everybody.” Mr Lunney said there are concerns about his client’s ability to cope and manage his anger and requested the judge consider him for Probation.
District Judge Bernie Kelly said: “The idea that people feel it is okay to go to a hospital and to assault medical staff, whether they be paramedics in an ambulance or whatever role they may play, is intolerable and this court has to send out a message to each and every one of them that if you engage in this behaviour there will only be one outcome.
"I will not tolerate any form of misbehaviour in the hospital, in its grounds, towards any member of staff,” said the District Judge who imposed a three-month jail term on each charge all to run concurrently plus a £25 Offender Levy to the first charge.