Man gets five months suspended sentence for attack on A&E nurse

A five month suspended sentence has been imposed on a man who became extremely aggressive in the busy A&E department of University Hospital Galway before attacking a nurse who was trying to treat his injured friend.

At Galway District Court on Monday Sebastian Skupinski (32 ) with an address at Mullan Mor, Tuam Road, pleaded guilty to assault on May 9, 2009, contrary to Section 2 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.

Inspector Ernie Whyte told the court that at 11.30pm the defendant arrived at the A&E department with an injured friend. The friend was being treated by a male nurse when the defendant became aggressive and abusive towards him. Skupinski was asked to leave the A&E, however he refused and instead punched the nurse in the face and kicked him in the left thigh before fleeing the scene. Inspector Whyte added that the nurse had received minor bruising in the incident and when the defendant was arrested he admitted to gardai what had happened. He added that the defendant has previous conviction for public order offences in December 2004 for which he received a fine.

Defence solicitor Valerie Corcoran said that his client had been terrified as his friend had been stabbed that night and as a consequence had been bleeding heavily. Ms Corcoran added that Skupinski had “thought he [the injured friend] wasn’t being dealt with quickly” but that he accepts that there is no excuse for his behaviour. “He wasn’t in his right state of mind. He fully accepts he did more damage than good,” said Ms Corcoran who added that his client has brought €1,000 into court as a gesture of his remorse.

The injured party told Judge Mary Fahy that if the defendant had pleaded guilty to the charge he should acknowledge that “he punched me and the only reason he kicked my thigh was because I was blocking him from what he really wanted to kick”. He continued by saying: “I can understand it was a difficult time for him but it was very clear that I was no threat to him. They [the defendant and his friend] came straight in and I dealt with them immediately... he was roaring and shouting in front of other patients. I’m one of 10 male nurses, I can only imagine what it would be like for other colleagues instead of me.”

Judge Fahy then noted that the court has heard a lot of cases in which members of the caring profession have been attacked and disrupted in their work. Judge Fahy then asked the injured party if he would take the €1,000 as compensation, however he declined instead suggesting that the money go to the Galway Hospice. Commending the injured party for generousity, Judge Fahy made the order for the money to be paid to the charity.

Skupinski was then convicted and sentenced to five months in jail which was suspended for 12 months on condition that he enter into a bond of €300 to be of good behaviour.

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