herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

Gun victim stole bike 'for exercise'

A SHOOTING victim was suffering post-traumatic stress when he stole a bicycle from a toy store in the belief he "needed the exercise" to help his heart condition.

Robert Gavin went on to hurl abuse at hospital staff in another incident, when he was asked to wait for a second opinion on a suspected stroke.

His defence told Dublin District Court he was heavily medicated at the time of both offences for post traumatic stress disorder following an attack in 2005 in which he was shot in the face.

Judge Hugh O'Donnell fined him €400.

Gavin, of St Berach's Place, Kilbarrack, pleaded guilty to failing to obey garda directions to leave Beaumont Hospital and theft of the bicycle from Smyth's toy store at Airside Retail Park in Swords.

Garda Lee Byrne told Dublin District Court Gavin picked up the €130 bicycle and walked out without paying on June 14.

He made full admissions when arrested five days later. The bike was returned in saleable condition to the shop.

In the other incident, gardai were called to the hospital's A&E department at 11.20pm on July 1. The accused was being verbally abusive to staff and annoying other patients.

He had attended with a referral letter from his GP and had undergone an electrocardiogram. When the test result was negative he asked for a second opinion and was told he would have to wait again. He became abusive, refused to leave and was arrested.

Gavin had six previous convictions. Defence solicitor Leanora Frawley explained that the accused was on medication both for depression and post-traumatic stress from the shooting.

There was a history of heart problems in his family and his brother had died two weeks before the theft.

"He felt that he needed the exercise and he wasn't thinking," Ms Frawley said.

Gavin had gone to hospital with a suspected stroke after one side of his face collapsed.

He waited for a long time to be seen by a junior doctor and when he asked for a second opinion on the outcome, he was told he would have to go back to the waiting area and wait "for whatever number of hours".

Gavin believed he was being denied early treatment and became upset, Ms Frawley explained.

"If he had left when the gardai asked him we wouldn't be here today," Judge O'Donnell said.

aphelan@herald.ie

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