A man who downed 12 pints and two ‘Aftershocks’ on July 12 last year before he assaulted and spat at paramedics and damaged life-saving equipment in an ambulance has had a four months jail term overturned on appeal.
At Coleraine Magistrates Court in October, District Judge Liam McNally said it was the worst case of its kind he had heard of and although Ryan McCambridge (20), of Meadowbank in Martinstown, had a clear record he was jailed for four months.
The judge said it had been well documented that courts would not tolerate that type of behaviour and would afford protection to ambulance staff “who day and daily have to deal with drunks”.
McCambridge had previously admitted charges including - three of assault; two of criminal damage to an ambulance and to the ambulance defibrillator as well as disorderly behaviour at the Coleraine’s Causeway Hospital and was jailed for four months.
However, he appealed the sentence and at the County Court in Antrim on Monday January 9 the four month sentence was instead suspended for two years. Compensation of £500 was upped to £750.
At Coleraine Magistrates Court in October a prosecutor said when police arrived at the hospital McCambridge was “locked” in the ambulance and they could hear shouting and banging coming from inside and when the door was opened he was abusive to officers and ambulance staff.
The ambulance had to be withdrawn from service because he had spat and vomited inside the vehicle and caused £1,761.61 damage to a defibrillator.
The clean up bill for the ambulance was £345.
The prosecutor said an ambulance had picked up the defendant and because of his disruption inside the vehicle on the way to the hospital it had to stop five times.
McCambridge had spat at, abused and assaulted staff calling them “black b--tards” and “w-nkers”. One paramedic with 33 years experience had never experienced such a level of abuse, the prosecutor added.
The lawyer said staff from another ambulance had to be called to help deal with McCambridge which meant two ambulances were held up for an hour and a half.
When McCambridge arrived at the hospital his behaviour was such he was returned to the ambulance.
The defendant told police he didn’t normally drink but had taken 12 pints of lager and two ‘Aftershocks’ and hurt his leg but couldn’t recall how.
Defence barrister Ben Thompson told the October hearing the defendant had behaved appallingly and like a “thug” but wished to apologise to ambulance staff and the court and severely regretted his actions.
He said McCambridge was on benefits but had some casual work in a fish and chip shop and was endeavouring to pay back compensation.
Judge McNally said it was a difficult case because there were two pictures of the defendant, the first being that whilst fuelled with alcohol he abused, assaulted and spat at ambulance staff and such behaviour could not be tolerated.
However, he noted the defendant was a “high achiever” getting nine GCSEs and NVQs in joinery and business & administration and although he accepted he was totally ashamed “this is probably the worst type of case of this nature I have come across”.
He said the starting point was at least a year in jail. However, at the October hearing he said he had to give discount for a plea of guilty at the first opportunity and the remorse shown as he imposed a four months jail term.