A Newry man who assaulted two members of the ambulance service has been sentenced to community service and probation.
The deputy district judge told the 40-year-old she initially believed that only a jail sentence would be justified but that an impassioned plea for mercy from defence counsel Kevin Magill, along with the probation report, had convinced her otherwise.
Rodney Bernard Feagan, of Killeavy Road, appeared for sentencing on two counts of assaulting ambulance staff, disorderly behaviour, possessing a bladed article and resisting police at Newry Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.
Prosecution outlined that in the early hours of September 20, ambulance staff were called to the defendant’s home after he had “inserted items into his rectum”.
However, when they arrived he became aggressive towards them. As they attempted to leave, Feagen pushed one ambulance member out of the property and closed the door before stopping a second crew member from leaving.
Later police received a call from Feagan himself, claiming that he was “unhappy with his treatment” by staff at Daisy Hill Hospital but when officers arrived, he was “in an intoxicated state, shouting and swearing”.
Feagan informed police that he had a knife, which he produced from his right pocket and this was seized.
When interviewed, he claimed he could not remember the assaults on members of the ambulance service and admitted to being “very drunk”.
The defendant stated that he “respected” NHS workers and that the weapon had been a work knife which had been in a bag he brought to the hospital.
Defence barrister Kevin Magill said that whilst Feagan had come to court “prepared” to be sent to jail given the custody threshold had been crossed, he urged the judge to consider an enhanced combination order.
The barrister submitted such an order would allow his client to address his underlying mental health and addiction issues.
He added that Feagan “didn’t mean any harm to the ambulance services” and that, whilst serious, the offences “fall at the lower end of the scale”.
Deputy District Judge Laura Levers commented “there really hasn’t been any stone unturned” by Mr Magill but “any right minded person would be totally outraged by your behaviour”, particularly during the current pandemic.
She stated: “Initially, I thought that only a custodial sentence was justified but the presentence report and the remarks of Mr Magill have convinced me otherwise.”
Telling Feagan “count yourself very lucky”, Deputy District Judge Levers sentenced him to an enhanced combination order consisting of 60 hours community service and two years probation.