Court bans Hep-C patient
HEPATITUS C sufferer Mark Andrew Roberts continually jabbed his arm with a syringe while threatening to ‘get’ a nurse at the Lismore Liver Clinic during a dispute over his treatment.
Roberts, 48, of the Lismore Palms Caravan Park, was barred from the Molesworth Street clinic and ordered by a Lismore Local Court magistrate yesterday to get his Hep-C treatment at another health service after he pleaded guilty to stalking/intimidating the nurse to cause her fear of physical harm.
Defence lawyer John Hennessy argued the syringe was still inside plastic when it was held up and Roberts’ health difficulties after being diagnosed positive for Hep-C had caused him some distress.
Police facts stated Roberts went to the clinic on October 2 and began yelling at a receptionist before being told by a clinical nurse not to speak to her that way.
As she tried to calm him, Roberts, who previously had issues with the nurse, then accused her of telling staff not to give him treatment before calling her a ‘white witch’.
“I’m coming back. I’m going to assault someone so you had better have security waiting. I’m going to come back and hurt someone,” he said. “I need treatment. I want treatment. I’m going to see my local member, you are refusing me treatment.”
Five days later, on October 7, Roberts returned to the clinic. He pulled a syringe from his pocket and used it to make continuing ‘jabbing motions’ to his right forearm saying to the nurse, “When you have Hep-C then you’ll be a good nurse.
“I’ll be waiting around the back for you. Getting an AVO will be the only way to stop me getting you.”
Fearing she may be physically harmed the clinical nurse and another female staff member fled the reception area into an office locking the door behind them.
The nurse later told police she did not know if there had been a needle in the syringe, but was in fear Roberts may deliberately injure her in an effort to infect her with Hep-C.
Magistrate Robyn Denes said staff at the clinic would have been terrified and not known what was in the syringe while only trying to do their job.
“They didn’t know if you had blood in there or not,” Ms Denes said to Roberts.
“Now you can’t go there for treatment. You have only hurt yourself.”
Ms Denes convicted Roberts of the offence and placed him on a 12-month good behaviour bond under the supervision of Probation Services.
He was ordered not to assault or harass the nurse, or go within 50 metres of the clinic, and told to get his medical treatment from Riverlands Drug and Alcohol Centre in Lismore.
An Apprehended Violence Order was put in place for two years, with Roberts ordered not to go near the nurse.