16th November 2018
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Fined for assault on nurse and paramedic

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A Latvian seaman has been fined £800 at Lerwick Sheriff Court after he admitted drunkenly assaulting a nurse and a paramedic.

Surva Mart, 53, of Kruma Street, in the Baltic state’s Liepaya, “lashed out” after he was taken to the Gilbert Bain Hospital.

He admitted assaulting a female nurse by punching her body and a male worker for the ambulance service – punching him on the head.

Appearing from custody, Mart also pleaded guilty to behaving in an abusive manner at the Shetland Hotel, where he had been drinking heavily in the bar.

The court heard police were called after Mart began shouting and swearing at the hotel.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said Mart failed to “desist” from shouting when officers arrived.

“He was arrested and taken to the police station. He was very drunk indeed, and there was concern for his health so an ambulance was summoned to take him to the Gilbert Bain.”

It was while he was being treated at the hospital’s Accident and Emergency department that his behaviour became even worse.

“These people, of course, were merely trying to help him,” the fiscal added. “He was resistant to that help. He was lashing out and, in the course of that, punched the female nurse on the chest.”

The court heard bruising was starting to develop as a result of that assault. But he said the nurse “did not have the option” of walking away after the assault, and she continued to try to help Mart.

The paramedic was also trying to help Mart. As he was taking the accused to the hospital, he was punched in the mouth, which caused bleeding gums.

“It was quite appalling behaviour, it has to be said,” said the fiscal.

Mr MacKenzie said other patients being treated had “sufficient worries of their own to deal with” without having to put up with Mart’s behaviour.

“Nursing staff and paramedics – it’s never been and never will be part of their job to put up with that sort of conduct.”

Defence agent Tommy Allan said the seaman worked on a support vessel, and was waiting for his boat with other seamen in time for a crew change.

While waiting for the ship he drank heavily for most of the day and evening.

He said Mart’s fellow crew members went to bed, but Mart was reluctant to leave the bar. After he became abusive he was taken to the police station, where he was so drunk it was felt he could not be kept there.

“He can’t explain why he acted in this way other than he had an extremely large amount of drink,” the defence agent said.

He added Mart had not had contact with his ship since being taken into custody. It was due to arrive today and may already have left. He said it was possible Mart now had no job as a result of his behaviour. Mr Allan said there was “no evidence” to suggest Mart regularly drank to excess.

But sheriff Philip Mann was less than impressed by Mart’s behaviour, describing it as “a very disgraceful episode”.

“You should not act in that manner, anywhere – not at home and certainly not when you are visiting our shores. It’s behaviour that can’t be tolerated,” he told Mart.

The sheriff said he would have considered a custodial sentence if it had not been Mart’s first offence.

“These people in the health service who give of their time and their experience and compassion to help people like yourself who get into this sort of mess ought not to be treated in that manner – not anywhere. Not in your home, and not in our country, either.”