Thursday 25 December 2014

Irish doctor accused of assaulting police had 'been spiked with date rape drug'

Shock twist in case as defence reveals toxicology test results

George Jackson

Published 17/05/2014 | 16:06

A doctor who allegedly attacked two police officers while on a Christmas night out had a date rape drug in her blood system, according to toxicology tests shown to a court.

A solicitor representing Dr Eireann Kerr, an anaethetist who works at Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry, said that toxicology tests had shown the presence of a drug called GHB in her blood.

The 31-year-old denies committing four public order offences outside Derry's Strand Road PSNI station last December.

Her solicitor Derwin Harvey told District Judge Peter King yesterday that the doctor, whose address was given as Marlborough Park South in Belfast, believed her drink had been spiked before she allegedly committed the offences.

Dr Kerr denies assaulting two police officers, one man and one woman, after a medical staff Christmas party on December 13.

She also denies resisting a female police officer and committing disorderly behaviour on the same date.

The case was due to have gone on trial on June 2 but faces a potential delay after the toxicology drug mentioned in court yesterday.

Mr Harvey informed the District Judge of the results of toxicology tests carried out on the defendant which he received the results of on Tuesday. He said they showed the presence of a so-called date rape drug in her bloodstream, known as GHB.

He said Dr Kerr was a woman of good character and that the conclusions of the toxicology report, which he handed in to the court, showed that the defendant's behaviour on the date in question would have been a side-effect of having GHB in her bloodstream after the drug had been administered to her.

"The defendant had absolutely no knowledge whatsoever that this drug was in her person," he said.

"The case is listed for trial on June 2 but from the defence's perspective the contents of this toxicology report change everything. I do not want the matter to proceed as a contest on June 2 until the prosecution are given time to consider this report.

"A lot of the defence witnesses are scientific and the conclusions in this report are not opinions but are scientific evidence."

The District Judge said while the drug GHB could be administered secretly, it was also a recreational drug.

He said it was quite clear there had been a development and he said the case required a degree of urgency, before adjourning the matter for an update on May 29.

An earlier court hearing was told that police have CCTV footage of the alleged assault.

GHB is known as a so-called 'date rape' drug. It can be administered as a liquid with no colour or odour, a white powder or a pill.

It has a slightly salty taste, but when mixed with a drink that can be masked.

GHB takes effect in about 15 minutes and can last up to four hours. A very small amount can have a big effect.

The drug can cause a variety of side-effects including drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, a blackout and a loss of consciousness.

Belfast Telegraph

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