Northern Ireland

Dr Eireann Kerr says she attacked police due to date rape drug

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Media captionDr Eireann Kerr says her behaviour was caused by having her drink spiked

A doctor who assaulted police after a Christmas party has said she has no memory of the event because her drink was spiked with a date rape drug.

Dr Eireann Kerr said she had been "the victim of a crime" and criticised the PPS decision to prosecute her.

The 32-year-old, of Malborough Park South in Belfast, spoke to the BBC on the day after her conviction.

The judge who found her guilty said he had no doubt that her drink was spiked but added it was not a defence in law.

She was given a two-month conditional discharge.

Kerr said she believed she had been drugged because she has a "memory lapse of about six hours" and could not account for her movements during that period on the night.

"It wasn't the result of alcohol, which is what the prosecution had tried to say - that this was an alcohol-fuelled rage attack on police - and that's not what happened," the doctor told BBC Newsline.

"And I'm glad that the judge, who said he felt very moved by what I had said in court, was able to say that publicly," she added.

As well as her conviction for assault on police, Kerr was also found guilty of disorderly behaviour and resisting a police officer after her arrest in Londonderry in December 2013.

She was working as an anaesthetist at Altnagelvin Hospital at the time of the incident and had been to several pubs in the city while on a staff night out.

She was arrested during the earlier hours of the morning and assaulted officers in Strand Road police station, Derry.

The doctor described how she woke up in a police cell the next day with none of her belongings and no idea how she had ended up there.

Kerr added that she had seen CCTV footage of the attack for the first time when she appeared in court on Wednesday.

"I was horrified and scared, and I still couldn't remember it. Nothing came back to me, which is really scary, but I know that they [the police] were trying to help me.

"There is no doubt, I have complete faith in the police as a whole and I know that they were trying to help me but I must have thought I was being attacked. I didn't understand where I was. I was in an acute confusional state," she said.

"I have worked in A&E departments and I work with people who are acutely confused and intoxicated and disorientated from sickness and psychiatric illness. I understand that some of the things they do at that time are not them and are not their character.

"And I understand that the drug that was given to me completely changes your personality. It makes you aggressive, it can make you completely disinhibited. It gives you amnesia and that's why it is used as a date rape drug. It makes you dulled in your senses and your orientation and that's exactly how I was on that night."

Kerr's defence team submitted toxicology reports in a bid to have the case against her thrown out.

However, the prosecution said she knew exactly what she was doing and had referred to police officers as "peasants".

Kerr told the BBC that she cried in court with relief when the judge said he accepted her claim that her drink had been drugged without her knowledge.

"I can only say that I'm really, really lucky that whoever tried to spike my drink didn't actually get the chance to go any further and that's the only solace that I can take out of it."

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