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Dishonesty in Disciplinary proceedings

In a recent decision Profession Standard Authority v Health and Care Professions Council , QBD 2nd July 2014, the High Court held that a decison that a conviction for dishonesty whereby the Registrant obtained employment by deception after forging a certificate indicating that he was qualifed for a position when he was not, was manifestly inappropriate having regard to the practitioners conduct and the public interest.

The Registrant was convicted and sentenced to a suspended sentence of imprisonment for an offence relating to his employment. 

The panel found that the maintenance of public confidence in the profession did not require a finding of impairment and that G had already paid a high price. The authority appealed pursuant to the National Health Service Reform and Health Care Professions Act 2002 s.29 on the basis that the panel's decision had been unduly lenient. 

Here there had been a 'web of dishonesty'. Given the gravity of G's behaviour a caution was insufficient and inappropriate and was not enough to protect the public interest. Even though there was serious dishonesty, striking off was not merited; there were powerful testimonials about G and he was on an MSc course and had insight and remorse with regard to his behaviour. The maximum period of suspension the court could impose was 12 months. Taking G's personal circumstances and mitigation into account a six-month suspension was imposed to be reviewed at the end of that period. 

This decision confirms the line of authorites that begins with Bolton v Law Society which indicates that dishonesty is serious in all professions ( although it seems more so in some than others) and almost inevitably results in a sanction towards the top end of the scale.

For any advice and assistance for issues like these please do call Jeremy on 0844 2722322 or submit a comment below. Jeremy will come back to you at the earliest convenience.

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