Sunday 21 January 2018

Irish doctor convicted of assaulting police officer after her drink was spiked says she has been 'emotionally traumatised'

Dr Eireann Kerr denies assaulting police after a Christmas party last year
Dr Eireann Kerr denies assaulting police after a Christmas party last year

Victoria O'Hara

A doctor convicted of assaulting police officers after her drink was spiked has spoken of how she was left "emotionally traumatised" by the ordeal.

Dr Eireann Kerr said the nightmare, which began on a Christmas night out in Derry in December 2013, has led to her having sleepless nights for the last 15 months.

The 32-year-old paid tribute to the love and support of her parents, Eamonn and Brenda, and friends who helped to get her through the horrific experience.

The young doctor was speaking after a judge agreed she had been drugged without her knowledge, but he said his hands were tied by the law and so he had no choice but to convict her.

She was given a two-month conditional discharge this week, which is now being appealed.

Read more here: Doctor who bit police officer's finger may be struck off medical register 

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

"It's been very, very draining," she said.

Eireann, who was working as an anaesthetist at Altnagelvin Hospital at the time, described waking up in a police cell without belongings, covered in bruises and not knowing how she got there as the most "traumatic event".

"It's the scariest experience and it has caused me sleepless nights and nightmares for months trying to work out what happened," she added.

She said she has no memory of that night between midnight and 6.30am.

"This is a six-hour complete blackout and the most traumatic event that could have happened to you. I can only fill in the blanks from other people's account of what happened, but there is still a period of time that nobody knows where I was, or what happened to me. It is the 'what if' and not knowing."

Dr Kerr, who lives in south Belfast but is originally from Strabane, had been on a Christmas night out with medical colleagues on December 13, 2013.

She was taken to the police station at around 2.30am by a taxi driver who was worried about her as she sat in the rear of his cab.

Read more here: Trial of Irish doctor accused of attacking police gets go-ahead  

Dr Eireann Kerr
Dr Eireann Kerr

It was there that she assaulted the police officers. This was due, according to the doctor, to the date rape drug her drink had been spiked with.

The doctor described telling her parents what had happened as hard.

"My mum picked me up from the hospital (the next day). And I called her as soon as I was able to get my own phone and belongings. She came up and she was very upset, very angry, and just a very protective mother and father.

"It has been tough. It has been tough for my mum and dad to deal with. But they have helped me as well as my own close friends and family. I wouldn't have got through this without them, because you need support of people when you feel really, really down. You doubt yourself."

She said that after a hair strand test proved she had the date rape drug gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid HB) in her system, she suffered from a mixture of emotions.

"That opened a lot of other emotions I think I tried to not think about. Who had done it? Why had they done it? Were they watching me? Were they attempting to lure me out of the company I was in? Why? Was it somebody in my company, which I'm adamant that it is not."

She added that more action was needed to catch those behind spiking drinks.

The doctor now faces being possibly struck off the medical register by the General Medical Council, which will investigate the case.

"That has been hanging over me for 15 months or so. The GMC investigation will probably go on longer than the court proceedings.

"I can only hope that justice will prevail and I can stay in the job that I love doing." The Public Prosecution Service has responded to criticism over taking the case to court.

Read more here: Irish doctor accused of assaulting police had 'been spiked with date rape drug'  

It said: "We consider that it is in the public interest to prosecute those cases where there is evidence of an attack on emergency services staff, such as police, particularly when injuries are sustained by those staff.

"In the particular circumstances of this case we offered the defendant a caution, which she refused. We note that in subsequent court proceedings the defendant was found guilty and sentenced accordingly. We respect the sentencing decision made. We can confirm that we have received from the defence team notice to appeal the court's decision and this matter is now subjudice. We will not provide any further comment on this case at this time."

Belfast Telegraph

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