National

Nurse accused of drugging wife denied bail

By AAP Newswire

An ICU nurse accused of trying to poison his wife by administering a sedative intravenously told police he stole the drugs because he had a problem with pests and vermin at their Sydney home.

Ugendra Singh, 45, is charged with using poison to endanger Joykita Lata's life in May, possessing prescribed restricted substance, larceny and common assault.

Police have alleged Singh administered what he said was a saline drip due to concerns his 38-year-old wife was dehydrated, causing her to become unconscious at their home in Hebersham.

In the NSW Supreme Court on Friday, Justice Geoffrey Bellew cited the couple's turbulent relationship in refusing Singh's bail application because of the risk he would commit other offences if released.

Singh, who has been suspended from his long-term job at Liverpool Hospital but has the support of 103 colleagues, had been married for about 18 years.

According to the crown case, Singh stole from his workplace a number of vials of propofol, a general anaesthetic used intravenously during surgical procedures.

On May 5, Ms Lata complained of feeling dehydrated and laid on a mattress in the lounge room.

Singh allegedly said he would administer a saline solution intravenously and inserted a cannula into his wife's arm, causing her to become unconscious for several hours.

When she awoke feeling drowsy, she noticed several vials of propofol on the floor.

She confronted her husband, which led to a heated argument during which he allegedly slapped her on the face.

She contacted police and was said to be in a highly distressed state.

In his police interview, Singh admitted stealing the propofol from the hospital pharmacy, saying he had a problem with pests and vermin at their home.

Singh said the drug would slow the pests down so he could then use a spray himself instead of paying up to $400 for experts to do the job.

He denied inserting the cannula and slapping his wife's face.

His lawyer labelled the prosecution case as "fundamentally flawed", contending there was no evidence to show the amount of propofol involved was capable of endangering Ms Lata's life.

"It is submitted that the presence of propofol in the blood system of the applicant's wife established no more than propofol was administered by someone," the judge said.

But Justice Bellew said it was difficult to imagine Singh's wife injecting herself, given evidence that propofol has an immediate sedative effect.

He also noted the toxicology report had not yet been obtained, expressing concern it may not be available for at least 10 weeks.

But the judge said the evidence suggested Singh had been dishonest in several ways, including by stealing various prescription drugs from his employer.

He gave different versions about why he had the substances and told police he was asleep during the day when his wife became unconscious, but records showed his phone had been in use.