Changes to Toowoomba’s mental health care system have raised fears about the future of Baillie Henderson Hospital.
Changes to Toowoomba’s mental health care system have raised fears about the future of Baillie Henderson Hospital. Bev Lacey

Mental health patients sentenced over riotous attack

TWO former Baillie Henderson Hospital patients involved in the riotous attack of nurses at the hospiotal's Ridley Unit in 2013 have been sentenced to suspended jail terms.

Allan Thomas Kirby, 49, and Francis John Pearce, 50, had their matters initially placed before the Mental Health Court which ultimately delayed finalisation of their respective cases, Toowoomba District Court heard.

On January 20, 2013, 11 patients had joined in the attack of a group of nurses who were left with various injuries including one nurse who had a fractured eye socket.

However, it was accepted the involvement of Kirby and Pearce was less than that of the main protagonists with Kirby putting a nurse in a headlock and leading him away from the melee and Pearce kicking a nurse in the leg as he lay on the ground.

Both pleaded guilty to a charge of serious assault with Pearce also pleaded guilty to an unrelated count of grievous bodily harm arising from him punching a fellow patient who was left with multiple facial injuries in October 2012.

The court heard both men had since left the hospital and were living independently under supervision of an involuntary treatment order.

Judge Michael Shanahan took into account Pearce had no previous criminal history and that he had spent 92 days in custody after the event and sentenced him to two years imprisonment wholly suspended for two years on the grievous bodily harm charge and to three months wholly suspended for the serious assault.

Kirby, who had previous convictions of violence, was sentenced to six months in jail wholly suspended for six months.
 


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