A Galway man with a history of anger issues was fined €700 at Galway District Court this week for hurling abuse and “racial comments” at cleaning staff at University Hospital Galway.
David Murphy (44 ) with an address at Apartment 1, 31 Griffin Road, Galway, was charged with threatening and abusive behaviour and failure to obey the orders of Garda Maria Freelay at UHG on April 27, 2008.
Inspector Mick Coppinger said that the defendant had 20 previous convictions, the most recent being a breach of a barring order, harassment, and assault in January 2008.
Keith Moggan, a security staff member at the hospital, told the court that the defendant had been approached by a number of cleaners who tried to wake him. One of the cleaning staff received abuse which included “racial comments”. Mr Moggan then said the defendant accused the cleaner of punching him. Mr Moggan said that when he viewed the incident back on CCTV he could clearly see that the cleaner just tried to wake him.
Another witness, Arthur Szbeia, explained that at 7am he asked the defendant to “wake up please” so he could clean the area. “He says to me f*** off, so I call security man,” said Mr Szbeia.
Garda Freelay then told the court that when she arrived at the A&E department of UHG she spoke to the cleaning staff and spoke to the defendant who was “agitated”. She asked him to sit down to receive treatment but he refused and left. Murphy then returned in an aggressive state and was arrested.
Murphy’s solicitor said that his client’s mother had died a week previously and that he had been in hospital because of a head injury caused by a fall. The solicitor added that Murphy was attending anger management courses.
Familiar with the defendant, Judge Mary Fahy replied that “he gets agitated very easily, even here in court”.
Judge Fahy said that such behaviour, in a hospital where staff are under pressure to treat people, was not acceptable. She hoped for his own sake that Murphy would continue attending anger management.
For failing to obey Garda orders Murphy was fined €400 and €300 for threatening and abusive behaviour, with three months to pay. He was also ordered to pay €200 for witness expenses.