Case of alleged assault on carer dismissed

A woman successfully appealed a case yesterday where it was alleged that she caught a care worker by the throat because she “went ballistic” over her elderly mother being taken by taxi rather than ambulance from a nursing home to hospital.

Linda Murphy, aged 55, of Ferndale, 51 Friars Walk, Cork, denied the charge of assaulting Ann McConnon at Cork University Hospital (CUH) on June 3, 2014.

When the case was heard at Cork District Court last year, Judge Olann Kelleher found the facts proved against Ms Murphy, but gave her a dismissal under the Probation of Offenders Act.

It went to a full re-hearing at Cork Circuit Appeals Court yesterday and Judge David Riordan said such a case could not be determined on probability and had to be decided beyond a reasonable doubt.

In that regard, the judge said the independent evidence of nurse Colette Beresford, who was present in the room at CUH at the time of the disputed incident, was of particular value.

He referred to a particular inconsistency between the complainant and evidence of Nurse Beresford and added: “That goes to credibility.” He then dismissed the case against Ms Murphy.

Ms McConnon said she brought Ms Murphy’s mother, who has since died, by taxi from Mowlam’s in Ballincollig, to CUH for a procedure. She said when the resident’s daughter, Ms Murphy, arrived at CUH, she was fuming because they had travelled by taxi. She said at one stage she was on the phone when Ms Murphy grabbed her by the throat. Ms McConnon said Ms Murphy later “pucked” her on the arm three times.

Ms Murphy said she did not assault Ms McConnon. She

testified she put her hand up to take the phone and Ms McConnon gave it to her. The phone was a landline belonging to the hospital and both parties had been talking to someone at the nursing home.

Ms Murphy said she did have an issue with her mother being carried by taxi rather than ambulance and commented on the day: “My mother is broke from taxis.” She told Paula McCarthy, defending, of her attitude to the complainant, “I have no malice against the girl.”


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