LONDON, June 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
The Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) yesterday [27 June 2011] dismissed a case against a Staffordshire veterinary surgeon, having found that his convictions under the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and the Public Order Act 1986 did not make him unfit to practise veterinary surgery.
At the one-day hearing, the Committee heard that Mr Richard Conlon of Warrendale Veterinary Care Centre, Biddulph, was convicted of one instance of common assault and one public order offence involving threatening, insulting or abusive language, both of which occurred during an altercation in a public house in Biddulph on 28 November 2009. The court ordered Mr Conlon to pay two fines of £300 each, a victim surcharge of £15, and £700 of court costs.
As the facts involved in Mr Conlon's offences had been proved by the court that convicted him, and Mr Conlon admitted to his convictions, the Committee considered only whether these offences made him unfit to practise veterinary surgery.
The Committee was advised that although the convictions were unrelated to Mr Conlon's professional practice, any criminal conviction may call into question a veterinary surgeon's fitness to practise if the conduct for which they are convicted raises doubts over their capability as a veterinary surgeon. Convictions that damage the wider public interest in the good reputation of the profession and public confidence can also raise questions about fitness to practise and may be considered.
Speaking on behalf of the Disciplinary Committee, Vice-Chairman Professor Sheila Crispin said: "In reaching our decision, it is important to emphasise that the Disciplinary Committee does not condone Mr Conlon's behaviour in any way. We accept the submission of the College 'that it is incumbent on any veterinary surgeon to act with decorum and not to engage in any violent, aggressive or intimidating behaviour,' and, on any view, for a veterinary surgeon to get involved in a brawl in a public house is unacceptable behaviour.
"In the Committee's judgment this was a one-off incident of brief duration with no premeditation on Mr Conlon's part; fortunately no significant injury was suffered by anybody involved. From the nature of the charges and the sentence of the court, it can be seen that this was at very much the lower end of seriousness and, as is accepted by the College, involves no concern about Mr Conlon's ability to practise as a veterinary surgeon."
The Committee ordered the charges be dismissed.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
1. The RCVS is the regulatory body for veterinary surgeons in the UK and deals with issues of professional misconduct, maintaining the register of veterinary surgeons eligible to practise in the UK and assuring standards of veterinary education.
2. RCVS disciplinary powers are exercised through the Preliminary Investigation and Disciplinary Committees, established in accordance with Schedule 2 to the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (the 1966 Act). The RCVS has authority to deal with three types of case:
a) Fraudulent registration
b) Criminal convictions
c) Allegations of disgraceful professional conduct
3. The Disciplinary Committee is a constituted judicial tribunal under the 1966 Act and follows rules of evidence similar to those used in a court of law.
4. The burden of proving an allegation falls upon the RCVS, and the RCVS must prove to the standard that the Committee is sure.
5. A respondent veterinary surgeon may appeal a Disciplinary Committee decision to the Privy Council within 28 days of the date of the decision. If no appeal is received, the Committee's judgment takes effect after this period.
6. Further information, including the charges against Mr Conlon and the Committee's decision, can be found at http://www.rcvs.org.uk/disciplinary.
For more information please contact:
Claire Millington, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons +44(0)20-7202-0783 / firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons