THEFT: Julie Ann Batley was a nurse at Rockhampton Hospital.
THEFT: Julie Ann Batley was a nurse at Rockhampton Hospital.

Nurse stole patient's prescription pills from locked drawer

A NURSE stole her patients medication from a locked bedside drawer in her Rockhampton Hospital room along with being busted drug driving three times in four months.

Julie Ann Batley, 38, pleaded guilty in Rockhampton Magistrates Court yesterday to three counts of drug driving, one possession methamphetamines, one failing to discard syringe safely, one possession of drug utensils, one possession of a restricted drug and one stealing prescription medication as an employee.

Police prosecutor Julie Marsden described Batley's offending as prolonged and persistent.

She said at 1.45pm on May 2, police intercepted Batley on Quay St and discovered a syringe in the coin compartment of her vehicle and 100ml of Lyrica in her handbag.

She said Batley told officers she was a nurse at Rockhampton Hospital and she had treated the patient the Lyrica belonged too earlier that day.

Batley told officers she "had scooped up items" and put them in her handbag, along with the Lyrica, accidentally.

She told officers she didn't know where the syringe came from.

When she tested positive for drugs on this occasion, she denied using drugs and told police someone must have put drugs in her drink.

Ms Marsden said checks with Rockhampton Hospital revealed the patient's prescription pills were locked in a drawer in her room in the geriatric ward that only nurses could access.

Six weeks later, on June 15, she was nabbed drug driving again, this time on Canning St. The third drug driving offence was detected on August 17 while Batley was driving on Talford St at 11.20am.

Police found her in possession of a straw and scales on October 6.

It was on the last drug drive intercept police found her with less than 1g of meth.

Defence lawyer Shane Elliott said Batley, a mother of two, was subjected to significant domestic violence in the past few years including being choked and punched.

"It's left her in a condition where she, at the very least, suffers from anxiety," he said.

Mr Elliott said Batley, like others, used drugs to escape her reality.

He said Batley lost her job after the first set of offences, but was still ambitious and has been accepted to do a Bachelor of Nursing at university.

Mr Elliott said she had been to some drug arm sessions.

Magistrate Cameron Press ordered Batley to a probation order for 20 months, 80 hours of community service, pay a $500 fine and disqualified from driving for six months. No conviction was recorded.

"This is somewhat of a sad case, but not uncommon," Mr Press said. "It is now your responsibility to take up the challenge of rehabilitation."