Man who kicked ambulance paramedic claimed he suffered epileptic fit

However, the injured party, John McCarthy, said defendant Robert Harris, of Cork Simon Community, was “faking it”.
Man who kicked ambulance paramedic claimed he suffered epileptic fit

An ambulance paramedic who went to the assistance of a man lying on the side of St Patrick’s Quay in Cork was kicked on the leg by the man, Cork District Court heard this week. File image of an ambulance. Picture Denis Minihane.

AN AMBULANCE paramedic who went to the assistance of a man lying on the side of St Patrick’s Quay in Cork was kicked on the leg by the man, Cork District Court heard this week.

The man denied an assault charge, claiming he was suffering an epileptic fit at the time.

However, the injured party, John McCarthy, said defendant Robert Harris, of Cork Simon Community, was “faking it”. Mr McCarthy responded to a call on April 4, 2021, about a man having a seizure on St Patrick’s Quay.

“Mr Harris was lying on his side,” he said.

“There was no seizure activity when we arrived. He was not unconscious. I put my hand on his chest. He gave me two kicks to the back of my leg on my calf. He told me to get my hands off him.

“There was no seizure activity. He was not confused and irritated. He was quite abusive and agitated. He did not want our help.”

Defence solicitor Frank Buttimer said: “His defence is that he was having seizures and he was not conscious of any act which you describe.

“You got a report that some individual thought he was having a seizure. It appeared someone was concerned he was having a seizure.”

Mr McCarthy said he knew Harris, who is aged around 50, and that he had assisted him several times before. He said the defendant was not having a seizure and was not unconscious, but was faking this.

“He told me to get my hands off me and gave me two kicks in the calf,” said Mr McCarthy.

Margaret Casey of the National Ambulance Service corroborated her colleague’s evidence.

“He had no signs of seizure activity at all,” said Ms Casey.

Judge Alec Gabbett said: “Both ambulance members are on first-name terms with the defendant. He is a frequent flier. They know him well. That is the most compelling evidence.”

Harris said he had medical difficulties and that “through my own fault” he had cirrhosis of the liver.

“I am on so much medication, I am taking them morning and night,” he said.

Commenting on having a seizure he said: “It is like turning off a computer and rebooting it, it takes time to come back.”

Sergeant Pat Lyons said in cross-examination: “You are on a first-name basis with the ambulance service — if you needed help would they help you?”

The defendant replied: “Absolutely. And if I depend on them, why would I behave like that?”

Judge Gabbett said the defence was saying it was unintentional due to a medical fit. He convicted Harris of assault.

The judge said: “I don’t believe for a minute they would not have brought him to hospital if he had a fit. I don’t believe it was unintentional or autonomous. He seems to be in a terrible way with his health. He is getting great care from everyone, including the ambulance service. There is so much going on for Mr Harris, I am going to direct a probation report.”

The case was adjourned for two months for that purpose.

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