An aged care worker who was found guilty of assaulting an elderly dementia patient, after a concerned co-worker caught her “cruelty” on camera, has avoided jail time and will serve a minimum of six months by way of home detention.
The 59-year-old, from Sydney, was initially sentenced to a maximum term of 17-months in prison during a hearing at Burwood Local Court last week, with a non-parole period of six months, but Gray was then granted permission on Thursday to serve the sentence from the comfort of her own home.
She will spend at least six months locked up at home and will have to wear an electronic monitoring device. Gray will only be permitted to leave her property to attend medical and corrections appointments, however the ABC reports that she has also been granted permission to go out to do her shopping once per week.
Gray’s actions, described by Magistrate Robyn Denes as “gratuitous cruelty”, were caught on camera after a colleague at the nursing home planted a GoPro camera in the unnamed patient’s room, having become concerned for the elderly woman’s welfare.
The footage, according to SMH, showed Gray walking into the resident’s room and staring at her before raising the bed to her chest height, the carer then yells “move” and pulls off the woman’s glasses and white cardigan before slapping her repeatedly.
She then grabs her hair and drags her head from left to right, before emptying the bathroom bin, tying the rubbish bag into a knot and swinging the contents at the woman’s face, hitting her on both cheeks.
“It seemed to me that all your frustrations, all your anger was taken out on this lady,” Denes said. “Even the act of leaving that bed raised … was heartless.
“As a coup de grace you hit her with the rubbish bag. The humiliation of that victim was complete.”
Worker who hit patient in Nursing home given 6 months detention – that’s NOT enough, should be 6 months jail, at least! Lack of staff does NOT excuse assault to these helpless people, lack of staff is related to negligence, because there is not enough staff & time
— Lana Arcus (@lana_arcus) September 20, 2018
Denes passed sentence on the case last week, however the matter was adjourned until Thursday, September 20, for a hearing on home detention assessment, after Gray was deemed “unsuitable” to serve any imposed jail time through community service.
Discussing the case on Twitter, one person wrote: “Worker who hit patient in Nursing home given 6 months detention – that’s NOT enough, should be 6 months jail, at least! Lack of staff does NOT excuse assault to these helpless people, lack of staff is related to negligence, because there is not enough staff & time.”
Another said: “Unbelievable when a person in a position of duty of care to such fragile people can violently abuse them and receive a slap on the wrist.”