Case of nurse who stole meds may be moved to mental health court

Published on January 15, 2016

A nurse who has admitted she stole prescription drugs for more than two years from the hospital where she worked is seeking to have her case heard in mental health court.

Amanda Patricia Murphy has pleaded guilty to theft under $5,000 for stealing drugs from Eastern Health between Jan. 3, 2013, and Feb. 7, 2015, while she worked as a registered nurse at St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital.

The 27-year-old was scheduled to be sentenced today. However, when the case was called in provincial court in St. John’s today, Murphy’s lawyer Erin Breen told Judge Lori Marshall that instead of proceeding, she will be filing an application to have the case transferred to mental health court, in which sentences focus on treatment for people convicted of crimes who are mentally ill.

Breen said there has been some confusion regarding the diagnosis Murphy received from psychiatrist Dr. Nazar Ladha and the doctors at the hospital. She said the issue has caused problems with Murphy’s eligibility for mental health court.

“It’s worth exploring,” Breen told the judge about the application. “I feel it’s in her best interest.”

Crown prosecutor Tannis King had no objections.

“If it is appropriate (to have Murphy’s case heard in mental health court), that’s where it should go.”

The case has been postponed to Jan. 27, when it will be called in mental health court to address the application.  

Murphy stayed outside the courtroom and didn’t partake in proceedings today, choosing, instead, to have Breen speak on her behalf.

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