A Penticton man who spat in a nurse’s eye during the height of the pandemic will spend 27 more days in jail.
Arnold Alexander Eakins was found guilty of the incident which occurred at the Penticton Regional Hospital on Dec. 15, 2020, and also pleaded guilty to a separate incident of uttering threats that same day.
After taking into account time already served in custody, Eakins will spend another 27 days in jail, followed by a 12-month probation.
On Dec. 15, Eakins had been admitted to the hospital following a drug overdose of meth and speed. That evening, Eakins was yelling and being verbally aggressive toward people, claiming that they had taken his money.
He eventually got up to leave, ripping the IV tube out of his arm on his own, which caused his blood to spray on the wall, and onto the nurse’s hair, uniform and mask.
The nurse promptly called security to escort Eakins out, to which he replied by calling her a graphic expletive, before spitting at her. His spit landed in the nurse’s eye.
Eakins admitted that he may have had spit come out of his mouth because he was angry that the nurses had not found his money.
In a separate incident that occurred on the same day, Eakins reportedly threatened staff at the Dollarama in Penticton. Eakins had already been previously banned from the store due to previous situations.
Eakins has a fairly lengthy criminal history, with 41 prior convictions including five for uttering threats and one for assault with a weapon.
Crown had been seeking nine months jail time for the assault.
In her reasoning, the judge noted that since the December incident, Eakins had not gotten into any further trouble with the law and that he has some prospects for rehabilitation.
The judge also noted the aggravating factor of the spitting in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact the victim was a health care worker.
“With the enormous amount of stress that health care workers were under at the time, frankly the last thing that is probably needed is to have them subjected to the type of conduct that occurred by Mr. Eakins on Dec. 15 while doing no more than their job,” said the judge.
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