Doctors appeal against assault conviction adjourned

drkerrAn anesthetist who was convicted last month of assaulting police after a Christmas night out has had her appeal against conviction and sentence adjourned at today's sitting of Derry Crown Court.

Dr Eireann Kerr, 32 from Marlborough Park South in Belfast, was convicted of committing the four offences inside Derry's Strand Road Police Headquarters following a Christmas works party night out with medical colleagues on 13 December, 2013.

She was convicted of the offences even though the court was told that there were traces of the date rape drug GHB in her system and that it was believed her drink had been spiked.

Following her conviction a defence solicitor Mr. Derwin Harvey said his client would be appealing against conviction and sentence.

At today's sitting of the Crown Court Mr. Eoghan Devlin said that he had written to the PPS and the Crown would need two to three weeks 'to consider all the matters I intend to raise.'

A barrister for the PPS said that the Crown had an obligation to review all matters relevant to a case.

He said in this case the public interest aspect had been reviewed since the conviction in April.

He added that the PPS had not yet received the formal letter relating to this matter.

Granting the application to adjourn the case Judge Philip Babington said he wanted the case to proceed as quickly as possible as 'justice delayed is often justice denied.'

Setting a review date of June 5 the judge said if the case was to go ahead he wanted it to take place before the summer break.

Eireann Kerr sat in the dock during the brief hearing but did not speak.

During the original hearing the court had been told that a conviction could have implications for the doctor's career.

Deputy District Judge Peter King who heard the original case said that Kerr was a woman of good character and he accepted that GHB had been "surreptitiously administered into her drink with no doubt nefarious motives. The administration of this date rape drug was the cause of her gross change in character".

However, Mr King said involuntary intoxication was not a defence to a criminal charge.

"It does not give me any pleasure at all in finding you guilty. I believe that the person responsible probably intended to commit more serious crimes against you. Any sanction which falls on you in this court will be felt more heavily outside of this court," he said.

Dr Kerr had been sentenced to a conditional discharge of two months.