Four months jail term for man following his sixth incident of offending at hospitals

Four months jail term for man following his sixth incident of offending at hospitals

A JUDGE handed down a four months jail sentence to a man who committed a sixth set of offences in a hospital.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said the man's behaviour was "simply unacceptable" and there was "no good excuse for it".

James Bell (33), formerly of Linenhall Street in Ballymena but now of Carnreagh Bend, Newtownabbey, admitted being disorderly at Antrim Area Hospital and assaulting a police officer in the execution of his duty.

A prosecutor told Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, that at 1.55am on August 24 this year police recieved a report from hospital staff that Bell was trying to get into another ward and was being abusive to staff.

The defendant had made his way outside and "screamed" and swore at police. After being warned he would be arrested if he didn't calm down he grabbed an officer by body armour, pushing him back, whilst saying: "I'll f**king deck you".

He tried to strike the officer but was taken to the ground and arrested.

The judge had previously asked prosecutors to check how many offences the defendant had committed at hospitals and the court was told offences dated back to 2011.

A defence solicitor said in August this year the defendant had been taken to hospital by ambulance and had drink taken.

He said the defendant had problems including alcohol issues.

The lawyer said the offending at hospitals was "totally out of order".

Judge Broderick said: "This behaviour is totally unacceptable. The Health Service are under enough strain as we all know, through a number of issues, not least of which is the pandemic, and this is the sixth time you have committed criminal offences in a hospital setting and there is no good excuse for it".

Unfortunately, the judge said, Bell had not learned his lesson.

He added: "There must not only be punishment for you but a deterrent for others. Everyone should know that if they commit criminal offences in a hospital setting they run the real risk of an immediate custodial sentence and this is the sixth time that you have done this."

The defendant had bail in the sum of £500 fixed for appeal.

  • Main picture: File image of Antrim Area Hospital.