A 37-year-old woman who dressed as a nurse and tried to get the keys of a drug cabinet at Craigavon Area Hospital was given suspended prison sentences last Friday at Craigavon Magistrates Court.
Ruth Williamson, Knockview Drive, Tandragee, at a previous court denied that on January 17 this year she made a false representation that she was employed at Craigavon Area Hospital and going equipped to cheat with a nurse’s uniform.
The case ran as a contest and she was convicted of both charges with sentencing adjourned until last week so that a pre-sentence report could be obtained.
Defence barrister Damien Halloran said Williamson had got herself professional qualifications but now accepted that she would never work as a nurse again and that her ‘entire career is in ruins’.
He pointed out that she had no record although she did contest the charges and in the probation report indicated she did not accept responsibility but now she would accept the decision of the court.
Mr Halloran said she did not get her hands on any drugs because a sister in the hospital took pre-emptive action to prevent any drugs being handed over.
“She made a monumental mistake in her life,” added the lawyer who asked the court to leave something hanging over head.
“She is unlikely to ever come back to court again,” said Mr Halloran.
District Judge, Mrs Bernie Kelly, told Williamson she had chosen to contest the case ‘in the face of inconvertible evidence against you, telling me it wasn’t you because your hair was different and you were wearing glasses’.
She wondered if some defendants thought lawyers and judges were stupid.
“You got nothing simply because the sister in question was focussed at a very busy time to actually stop and think what you were asking for,” added the judge. “If she hadn’t questioned it and handed over the keys she would have lost her job.
“You used a nurses’ uniform putting the nursing profession as risk of accusations.”
Judge Kelly told Williamson she was a mother and had parenting responsibilities but was ‘prepared to put her children in jeopardy’ to get access to a hospital’s drug cabinet.
“You have to ask yourself some searching questions,” she added.
The judge said that if the defendant had pleaded guilty she would have been looking at a community based disposal.
But there was no credit for the way Williamson approached the case which was a hopeless contest which should never have ran.
“It was one of the most blatant non contestable contests I have come across for a long, long time,” said Judge Kelly.
For the fraud offence she imposed a five month prison sentence and eight months for going equipped. Both terms were suspended for three years.
Sobbing as she was sentenced Williamson told the judge she would never be near a court again.
Judge Kelly replied: “Don’t say that, it’s only tempting fate.”