Donegal man jailed for ill treatment of patients in Derry care home

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A senior care assistant at a Derry care home has been jailed at Derry Crown Court on a series of patient ill treatment charges.

Shaun Lynch (54) of Ballybegleg, Newtowncunningham in County Donegal admitted 7 charges of ill treatment or neglect of patients in Owen Mor Care Home on dates between September 2019 and December 2020.

Outlining the case against Lynch a prosecuting barrister said that the offences were ‘ill treatment rather than willful neglect.’

He added that they were aggravated by the fact the defendant was in a position of trust and the victims were vulnerable. 

Defence counsel Brian McCartney KC said the defendant had an attitude of getting things done quickly. 

He said his client had shown’ genuine remorse and shame’ and was at low risk of re-offending.

Passing sentence Judge Neil Rafferty KC said he had read the victim impact reports from the relatives of the injured parties. 

One of the relatives said that the patient ‘didn’t deserve to spend his last days like this.’

Another relative said that the offences were carried out ‘by someone in a position of trust, someone the patient trusted, someone his family trusted and someone society trusted.’

The various offences were outlined to the court and they involved the defendant grabbing patients and pushing them down corridors, forcibly throwing patients onto beds and generally behaving in’ a highly aggressive ‘ manner.

The court heard that the victims were visibly scared and frightened and in some cases crying. 

Judge Rafferty said that the offences were’ rough handlibg’ rather than willful neglect.

He said Lynch had no previous convictions and had been of good character. 

The court heard that due to an expansion at the care home Lynch had been promoted to senior care assistant with only 3 months experience and the judge said he was probably promoted ‘above his level of responsibility’.

Judge Rafferty said Lynch’s approach of getting things done was ‘wrong headed’ in a caring environment.

He said that the offences were a breach of trust and had taken place over a year.

The fact that the defendant was of previous good character made the case ‘all the more tragic.’

Judge Rafferty said that in each case ‘the harm is not inconsequential’.

He said that those who engage in ill treatment of the vulnerable must be aware ‘there will be consequences.’

He imposed a sentence of 9 months on Lynch. 

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