SW teenager expresses shame over violent behaviour towards Bunbury Hospital nurses, security guard

Carly LadenSouth Western Times
Exterior of the Bunbury Hospital.
Camera IconExterior of the Bunbury Hospital. Credit: Jackson Barrett/South Western Times

A 15-year-old girl has expressed shame over her violent behaviour towards nurses and a security guard at Bunbury Hospital, telling the court she “couldn’t believe it was me” when she watched footage of the incident.

The girl, who cannot be named, appeared in Bunbury Children’s Court on Friday in relation to charges of assaulting a person working in a hospital and assaulting a public officer, to which she had previously pleaded guilty.

The teenager, who had no prior criminal record, and her mother were in the waiting area of the Bunbury Hospital during the late hours of December 29 last year when the two got into an altercation that turned physical, prompting hospital staff to activate a duress alarm.

One female nurse attempted to intervene and separate the mother and daughter by placing the teenager in a bear-hug and moving towards the entrance.

However, the girl yelled at the nurse to “f... off” and hit her, causing pain as they struggled to move towards the doorway.

The girl also threatened to punch another nurse, who tried de-escalating the situation by directing her to go outside, instead spitting at the nurse, who had to wash spittle off her arm as part of COVID safety protocols.

A security guard who also tried to intervene in response to the duress alarm was kicked by the girl in the abdominal area and sought treatment for the pain caused.

The girl’s duty lawyer Derek Hunter told the court the incident was a “one-off” and his client had no memory of what had taken place, due to her consuming alcohol and taking Xanax pills, for which she did not have a prescription, at the time of offending.

It was understood the girl had been self-medicating to deal with an undisclosed trauma and had since undergone counselling and ceased consuming alcohol and Xanax as part of her requirements for court conferencing.

Acknowledging the incident was “out of character” for the girl, Magistrate Linda Keane ordered no further punishment and dismissed the charges.

“Your behaviour was clearly linked to what you’ve been self-medicating for,” she told the girl.

“It was a crazy thing to do, mind-blowing behaviour towards nurses who do an extraordinary job in stressful circumstances and quite frankly don’t get paid enough to do.

“They probably dread having to work late night shifts during the Christmas and New Year period because they have to deal with the aftermath of people loading themselves up with alcohol.”

When Ms Keane made reference to CCTV footage that was taken of the incident, the girl said she felt “ashamed” and shocked by her behaviour.

“I couldn’t watch it,” she told the court.

“I just couldn’t believe it was me.

“You won’t see me here again, Your Honour.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails