THREE healthcare workers were assaulted by a man who tried to spring his 85-year-old mother from a local hospital.
The accused, John Delee of Coornishal, Leap, who was legally represented in court by Killian McCarthy, denied assaulting Ligi Cherian, Aimee Fallon and Tadhg Crowley at Skibbereen Community Hospital on September 28th 2021.
He also denied engaging in threatening and abusive words and behaviour during the same incident.
Ligi Cherian described how, at 5pm, on the evening of September 28th, John Delee attempted to manoeuvre his mother, Mary, who is a ward of court, out the front door of the hospital.
The nurse said she called for help and two other staff members came to her aid. During the incident, she said John Delee tried to push her away and she sustained a bruise on her left arm.
‘I was trying to stop her because she is under our care,’ said the witness.
Tadhg Crowley said he heard the commotion and went to assist. During the incident, he said John Delee threatened to break his face, grabbed him by his jumper, and was aggressive towards everyone.
Tadhg Crowley said he told the accused: ‘You don’t put your hand to a woman’ and witnessed how he had ‘made a swing’ towards Aimee Fallon.
Aimee Fallon gave evidence that the man’s mother was very distressed throughout, and that she had attempted to control the situation by standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tadhg as the accused raised his hand to her.
When she tried to stop John Delee, she said, he tried to push her out of the way. ‘It was terrifying,’ Aimee Fallon said. ‘It was highly stressful and very frightening.’
In evidence in his own defence, John Delee said the evidence given by the State witnesses was incorrect. He said the CCTV would show how he took his mother outside without incident.
He claimed it was the hospital staff who grabbed his mother, which forced him to act in self-defence.
The accused said his mother wanted to leave the hospital so he had no reason to drag her, as other witnesses had alleged. ‘I was not abusive to anyone,’ he added, ‘but they threw my mother around like a rag doll. It was disgraceful, scandalous. They forced her into a wheelchair.’
Judge James McNulty said the evidence for the prosecution was ‘strong, credible and conclusive’ while John Delee’s evidence had been ‘self-serving and untruthful.’
He convicted him on all three assault charges and sentenced him to six months in jail and imposed a three-month sentence, which is to run concurrently, for the public order offence.
‘He caused consternation and alarm and more than a minor emergency at Skibbereen Hospital,’ said the judge.
Recognisances were fixed for an appeal, and the accused was granted bail in the sum of €100.