No jail for man who assaulted four hospital staff

Pacemaker Press 22/5/2013  Laganside Court Building  in Belfast City centre  Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 22/5/2013 Laganside Court Building in Belfast City centre Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

A man who assaulted four security staff at Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital and threatened to dig up one victim’s dead mother has avoided prison.

Stephen Kennedy was given 18 months probation and 100 hours community service for the violent outburst where he kicked out and tried to bite staff.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard the 34-year-old also threatened to attack the teenage daughter of a staff member who described it as among the worst cases of verbal abuse in his time at the hospital.

Kennedy, of Saintfield Road in Castlereagh, later apologised for his behaviour, claiming he had no memory of the incident.

Police were called to the hospital on October 4 last year amid reports of a violent man in the accident and emergency department.

A prosecution lawyer said Kennedy assaulted security guards who tried to intervene. He squared up to them, kicking and attempting to bite them.

“One of the injured parties said he had worked there for 34 years and described it as one of the worst cases of verbal abuse he had encountered,” the prosecutor added.

“He said (Kennedy) threatened to attack his daughter, and to dig up his dead mother - he hoped his mother had died from cancer.”

During police interviews the defendant said his last memory was drinking in Belfast city centre, and then waking up in a police cell.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall recognised that Kennedy had kept out of trouble and imposed a combined probation and community service order.