Sunday 25 September 2016

Doctor who bit police officer's finger may be struck off medical register

George Jackson

Published 23/04/2015 | 12:17

Dr Eireann Kerr
Dr Eireann Kerr
Dr Eireann Kerr and her solicitor Derwin Harvey

A doctor faces being struck off the medical register after she was found guilty of biting a police officer on the finger, assaulting another officer, resisting arrest and disorderly behaviour.

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Dr Eireann Kerr (32) from Marlborough Park South in Belfast, was convicted of committing the four offences inside Derry's Strand Road police headquarters following a Christmas night out with medical colleagues on December 13, 2013.

She was taken to the police station by a taxi driver who was worried about her as she sat in the rear of his cab.

After she was arrested, the court was told that Dr Kerr called the police officers "peasants".

Dr Eireann Kerr and her solicitor Derwin Harvey
Dr Eireann Kerr and her solicitor Derwin Harvey

Dr Kerr, an anaesthetist at Altnagelvin hospital in Derry, told the court that she believed her drink had been spiked by someone using the 'date rape' drug GHB.

She said as a result of the drug her actions became uncontrollable, resulting in her behaviour inside and outside the police station.

Following her convictions, Dr Kerr's barrister Eoghan Devlin told District Judge Peter King: "She may now very well face other matters which may encumber her career or end it completely because of the actions of a third party in spiking her drink."

Mr Devlin said that following the incidents, seven segments of Dr Kerr's hair were forensically analysised for drugs.

Traces of GHB were found in the segments and at the time of the incidents at the police station, the test results showed that the level of GHB in two of the segments were just over triple the other five levels.

Dr Kerr told the District Judge that after going for a meal and drinks with her medical colleagues they went to two bars. She said she had no recollection of leaving the first bar.

"My next memory was waking up or coming around in a police cell. I did not know where I was. I did not know where I had been ... I was covered in bruises," she said.

"I was completely traumatised by the experience. I remember everything to a certain point and then nothing. That is what that drug does."

Her colleague, Dr Aidan Campbell, who was with her on the Christmas night out, said Dr Kerr was "perfectly lucid" after they left the first bar and entered the second city centre bar.

"All of a sudden she became very pale, unsteady on her feet, her eyes were closing, she was unable to speak lucidly, her speech was slurred and she did not recognise me. It was absolutely clear to me she had no idea who I was. I am of the strong opinion that her drink was spiked, absolutely," he said.

A prosecution solicitor told Judge King that while it was accepted that GHB had been ingested into Dr Kerr, the law was clear.

"Intoxication is not a defence nor is involuntary intoxication a defence against a criminal charge."

District Judge King said he had no hesitation in accepting Dr Kerr's evidence.

He said she was a woman of good character and he accepted that GHB had been "surreptitiously administered into her drink with no doubt nefarious motives".

However, he said involuntary intoxication was not a defence to a criminal charge.

"It does not give me any pleasure at all in finding you guilty. I believe that the person responsible probably intended to commit more serious crimes against you. Any sanction which falls on you in this court will be felt more heavily outside of this court," he said.

Issuing a conditional discharge for two months, the district judge agreed to fix appeal bail at £250.

Speaking afterwards, Dr Kerr's solicitor Derwin Harvey said: "Ms Kerr is obviously upset that she has been convicted.

"However she is pleased that she has been vindicated as she has stated from the outset that she was the victim of a more sinister crime and that the court found as a fact that she was a victim of the administration of a date rape drug without her knowledge."

Belfast Telegraph

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