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Bury St Edmunds: Patient cleared of surgery threat

09:56 19 December 2012

West Suffolk Magistrates

West Suffolk Magistrates' Court

A PATIENT who was accused of telling a surgery staff would “lose some doctors”, has been cleared of causing harassment.

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Jonathan Covington, of Beaumont Close, Bury St Edmunds, was charged with sending a menacing message by telephone and using threatening behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress to staff working at the Victoria Surgery in Victoria Street.

Rachel Naylor, prosecuting, told the court that the 44-year-old, who had been contacted by practise manager Kathryn Colsell about a prescription, had hung up before phoning the surgery back and repeatedly swearing.

West Suffolk Magistrates’ Court was told that Ms Colsell had “immediately” phoned the police after Covington told her he was going to “come down there and give you all a good slapping.”

Police arrested Covington after he called into the surgery a short time later. As he was led away, the court was told he had said either “Just to let you know you will be one doctor short” or, in the words of the arresting officers: “be prepared to lose some doctors.” David Cason, defending, said his client had been misheard on the phone and that Covington had said he was going to report one of the surgery’s GPS to the British Medical Association, after which they would be “one doctor short”. District Judge Celia Dawson found the 44-year-old not guilty of both charges and said his comments clearly referred to a civil remedy.

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