Friday 2 December 2016

Blue lighting in public toilets to deter drug addicts from injecting themselves should be 'obligatory' - judge

Andrew Phelan

Published 16/11/2016 | 15:38

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All public toilets should be fitted with special lighting to deter drug addicts from injecting themselves, a judge has said.

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Judge Anthony Halpin said the blue lighting already found in some toilets should be made “obligatory.”

He was commenting in the case of a man who left blood all over a shopping centre toilet cubicle when he injected himself in the groin.

Men and children were using the facilities in Dublin’s Jervis Centre when gardai caught Thomas McCabe (37) in a cubicle.

McCabe, with an address at Bernard Curtis House, Bluebell, pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage in the incident on September 29 last.

Judge Halpin put him on a bond to keep the peace for six months.

Dublin District Court heard gardai arrived and looked under the cubicle door, where a syringe was visible on the floor.

Droplets of blood began hitting the floor and the garda looked over the door and saw McCabe injecting the syringe into his groin area.

There was blood on the toilet bowl, floor and walls, requiring a €100 clean up, the court heard.

Judge Halpin asked if there were not “certain types of fluorescent lights to ensure people don’t use the facility for drug use.”

When he heard there were not, he said: “It should be obligatory because there are very young children using the toilets.”

McCabe had 22 previous convictions for drugs and other offences. Judge Halpin said the court was not “without compassion” and understood there were people out there in the grip of addiction and needed to take drugs.

However, he said. “those particular facilities are not appropriate for that.”

McCabe apologised for what happened - he had had alcohol wipes with him, intended to clean up and did not intend to cause any damage, his barrister Aifric Hurrell said.

His mother had passed away recently and he was in a distressed state on the day. The accused had been dealing with his addiction and was awaiting a place at a treatment centre, Ms Hurrell added.

McCabe had three children and was engaged to be married.

Judge Halpin said he accepted the accused had shown remorse and provided an explanation.

He understood that McCabe must have been distressed and looking for a release.

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