Care assistant ‘acted out of character’ in pushing woman
A County Tyrone care worker who pushed a vulnerable resident as she was climbing up her chair, was given a four-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months, at East Tyrone Magistrates Court, sitting in Dungannon, on Friday.
Forty-one-year-old Jolita Didbarzdeine from Ardglena in Dungannon had previously admitted a charge of common assault at a local nursing home on October 28 last year, and the matter was adjourned for a pre-sentence report.
Deputy District Judge Sean O’Hare described it as a serious case because of the nature of the location of the incident.
He said the injured party was in a locked down facility for her own safety and was dependent upon staff, and the defendant had failed in respect of protecting her.
The judge noted the lady occasionally crawled around the floor and the defendant had pushed her while she was climbing up her chair.
He said while he accepted the defendant had been under pressure at the time, there was no excuse for her behaviour.
Prosecuting counsel described the injured party as vulnerable and said she would often crawl about the floor.
She said on this occasion she had been pushed to the floor by the defendant as she was climbing up her chair.
The incident had been witnessed by staff who reported it to management and the defendant was suspended.
She said there was no physical injury to the care home resident but described her as being vulnerable.
Defence lawyer Noel Dillon said Didbarzdeine apologises for her behaviour on this occasion.
He said she was one of the home’s longest serving employees having worked there as a care assistant for over 13 years.
Mr Dillon explained the defendant had been working long hours for a number of weeks due to the Covid situation when this incident happened, and her mental health has suffered.
He stressed she had nursed and cared for the injured party for a very long time.
The lawyer said the defendant accepted that she should not have behaved in the way that she did.
He said the defendant is a married lady with four children, the eldest of which had started a university course.
Mr Dillon asked the court to accept that Didbarzdeine had behaved “out of character” on this occasion, and she has taken the matter very seriously.
The judge noted that two character references in support of the defendant had been received by the court. He told Didbarzdeine the incident would carry a period of custody but in light of what had been said in her defence, he would suspend the four months for 18 months. Telling her she was free to leave the court, he said her counsel would explain the sentence.
Thank you for reading this article. We’re more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.
Please consider purchasing a copy of the paper. You can also support trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription of the News Letter.