A DOCTOR treating a patient at Mercy University Hospital two days before Christmas was threatened by the man he would punch his head off.
Sergeant John Kelleher gave evidence of the incident at Cork District Court.
“Mathew Ginnifer had a cut to his head and he was conveyed to the Mercy hospital.
“At the Mercy he became very abusive to staff. He said: ‘Get your hands away from me or I will punch the head off you’,” said Sgt Kelleher.
This threat was made by the 27-year-old to the doctor in the presence of other hospital staff and members of the public on December 23.
Ginnifer was before the court where he pleaded guilty to this charge and to others including theft.
Judge Olann Kelleher said that while the theft and other charges carried a longer maximum sentence, he regarded the charge of threatening hospital staff as more serious.
He said: “It cannot go on, particularly in the Mercy where he is threatening nurses and doctors who are only there to help him.”
The judge noted the maximum sentence for this offence was three months and he took into consideration the guilty plea as he imposed a two-month term. It will run concurrently with five-month sentences imposed for theft and failing to appear in court.
Sgt Kelleher said the accused had 122 previous convictions including 22 for theft, eight for failing to appear, and 12 for engaging in threatening behaviour.
Solicitor Frank Buttimer said: “His record is quite poor but recently his interaction with the criminal justice system is limited. His addictions relate to multi-substance difficulties. He has been partially successful in his rehabilitation. He was trying to get into Coolmine — that had been his objective. He was brought before a special sitting of Cork District Court on December 29. I think he did not apply for bail or if he did apply it was very much a half-hearted attempt.
“He had been homeless at the time, relying on friends to put him up. It is an ongoing struggle for him with difficult personal circumstances.”
As well as pleading guilty to the threatening behaviour Ginnifer also pleaded guilty to shoplifting at Dealz on Grand Parade on July 6 last, and twice failing to appear in court. Sgt Kelleher said Ginnifer was being treated at the Mercy for a cut to his head when he was threatening and abusive.