A Portadown man is appealing a two month prison sentence he received for being disorderly in Craigavon Area Hospital following his arrest for driving whilst under the influence of heroin.
Sentencing the 33-year-old, the district judge commented: “You are not stupid, you know like the rest of the population that we are in a pandemic…the staff at Craigavon Area Hospital have been busy protecting patients, protecting staff and treating Covid-19 patients.”
Steven Ian Wilson, of Ulsterville Park, pleaded guilty to driving when unfit, disorderly behaviour, two counts of criminal damage, possession of Class C and failing to provide a specimen at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.
Prosecution outlined that on January 25, at 8.50pm, police received a report regarding the defendant leaving his home in a Volkswagen Golf, whilst suspected of being under the influence.
At 9.05pm, police located Wilson on the Moyallan Road, Portadown. He was observed to be unsteady on his feet with slurred speech and glazed eyes.
Officers subsequently spotted a Volkswagen Golf which had crashed into a field and the keys to this car were found on the defendant.
Whilst in custody, Wilson refused to provide a sample of blood for testing and during a subsequent search 100 suspected diazepam tablets were found on his person.
The defendant was then conveyed to Craigavon Area Hospital for treatment. Whilst there he was loud and abusive towards police, members of the public and staff.
During his arrest, prosecution outlined that he had caused damage to both a police cell van and handcuffs.
When interviewed in relation to the offences, Wilson made full admissions.
Defence barrister Conor Lunny stated that he was “taken by surprise” upon reading the facts of the case.
He commented that having represented Wilson for “many years” he had known him to be a cannabis user but was surprised to hear of a new “addiction to heroin”.
Mr Lunny said that at the time of these offences the defendant had been in a “very dark place” but had since taken steps to tackle his addiction.
Describing his client as “hard working”, Mr Lunny stated that he had since returned to the family’s farm.
He added: “One would hope that he had learned his lesson in relation to involvement with Class A drugs.”
District Judge Bernie Kelly stated: “Mr Wilson, you did not choose 13 months ago to go on heroin…you have been building up to that for years, through your choice of drugs.
“You are not stupid, you know like the rest of the population that we are in a pandemic…the staff at Craigavon Area Hospital have been busy protecting patients, protecting staff and treating Covid-19 patients.”
She continued: “You would not know the first thing about that pressure, working 24 hour shifts, no sleep and people dying around you.
“Yet you were abusive to police, you were abusive to staff and you were abusive to members of the public at midnight at A&E.”
Wilson was sentenced to two months in prison and was disqualified from driving for a period of 15 months.
Mr Lunny made it known that his client wished to have bail fixed to appeal the sentence.
Wilson was released on his own bail of £500, with conditions; not to be under the influence of non-prescribed drugs, not to travel in any private motor vehicle and not to enter the grounds of Craigavon Area Hospital.