A man arrested after shouting and swearing at an accident and emergency nurse later claimed “any normal person” would react the same way, a court has heard.
John Patterson was given 240 hours community service for his outburst at the Mater Hospital in north Belfast.
The 62-year-old, of Whitehouse Court in Jordanstown, Newtownabbey, pleaded guilty to disorderly behaviour and resisting police.
Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard he started shouting at a triage nurse while attending the hospital on September 3.
He was warned about his behaviour and asked to calm down, but continued with the abusive language.
A prosecution lawyer said Patterson then raised his arm to police called to the ward, as if he was about to strike out.
He pushed against an officer who tried to take hold of his arm, and had to be restrained on the ground as he continued shouting and swearing.
The court was told that following his arrest he allegedly stated: “Any normal person would react like this.”
But a defence barrister insisted Patterson had difficulty describing what he really was trying to convey.
“He meant his frustration about attending A&E, spending that day waiting, he felt any person would be frustrated by that,” she explained.
Counsel added that Patterson accepted a normal person would not behave like he had.
She described her client as a lonely individual whose life had lost structure since his mother passed away.
District Judge Steven Keown said he was imposing community service as a direct alternative to imprisonment.
He warned Patterson: “The court won’t tolerate behaviour like this in a hospital setting, in front of other people who are ill and overstretched hospital staff doing their best to look after everybody.”