Court in Ballymena hears man threw file which struck nursing sister in packed hospital emergency department

Ballymena Court

A MAN who threw an A4 file which struck a nurse on the side also shouted in the packed Emergency Department of Causeway Hospital in Coleraine that he wanted to see the “f*cking black doctor”.

Details emerged as John James Farren (25) appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena on Friday, for sentencing on charges of assault and being disorderly on October 12 last year.

A prosecutor said the defendant was at the hospital in connection with his “mental health” and police were called about a disturbance.

When officers arrived, the defendant was outside and when officers approached he became “agitated, tensed up, and clenched his fists and shouted that he would bite police”.

The defendant was restrained, handcuffed, and was placed in a police vehicle.

When police spoke to the “A&E Sister” she said Farren threw an A4 file at her which struck her on the side.

The prosecutor added: “She doesn’t comment on there being any injuries”.

The prosecutor said Farren had shouted that he “wanted to see the ‘f*cking black doctor’.”

The nurse told police that had happened in a very busy Emergency Department filled with “multiple patients and staff”.

The prosecutor said Farren wasn’t interviewed immediately because he was “voluntarily sectioned”.

A defence solicitor said at the age of 20 the defendant, who had a record, was diagnosed with paranoid psychosis and depression and this was the first appearance in court since 2015.

He said Farren had been allocated a property in Belfast away from his family and “didn’t have any support and unfortunately wasn’t taking his medication”.

The lawyer said the defendant had been taken to Coleraine the previous night at 11pm and “he slipped through the net”.

The solicitor added: “They must been having a very busy night and he had been there. He got more agitated as the evening went on, and of course he hadn’t had his medication”.

The lawyer said the offence was “not particularly pre-meditated conduct” and Farren was sorry and wanted to publicly apologise to hospital staff.

The lawyer said the defendant is “now back on the straight and narrow” and lives round the corner from his mother who helps ensure he gets his medication on a regular basis.

The solicitor added: “The remark about the colour of the doctor’s skin is not relevant to this extent. He had a rapport with that particular doctor during the course of the evening and that is why he wanted to see her, he wasn’t making any specific reference…”

The judge said thankfully nobody was injured “but this was unacceptable behaviour”.

He said had Farren not had his “liberty compromised” by being sectioned he would have considered jailing him.

The defendant, of Ard na Smoll in Dungiven, was given a four months jail term, suspended for two years.

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