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Chiropractor allegations dropped after non-production of GP records

In a recent case before the Professional Conduct Committee of the GCC our chiropractor client had no evidence offered against him and the allegations were dropped. The Claimant alleged she had been the subject of an accident in a famous supermarket 5 years previously and her life had been affected ever since. She attended out client’s practice, travelling a great distance and sought treatment and a report from him. She was ultimately excluded from the practice. She complained about the content of the report, she claimed our client had retracted it and this had endangered her life and she also complained about her treatment to the GCC. She was directed by the Investigating Committee to produce her GP records going back to the date of the accident but she declined to do so. The complainant’s GP also removed the complainant from their list of patients citing an irretrievable breakdown in the doctor patient relationship.

Despite this the IC decided there was a case to answer albeit not in relation to the report and referred the case to the PCC . Extensive requests for disclosure were made by ustof the GCC (the GP records were requested over a period of 12 months). Service of the GP notes  was still not forthcoming. The week before the hearing the GCC sought to postpone the hearing. We vigorously opposed this and we were successful, the hearing went ahead. The GP records were not available and were never produced. The complainant refused to attend the hearing. The GCC offered no evidence and the case resulted in a finding that our client was not guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

John Williams commented “It is my experience in chiropractor cases that the IC will often refer allegations to the PCC which were not the main substance of the complaint by the complainant This was one such cases where the allegations were peripheral to the complainant’s complaint. Furthermore, when a complainant declines to co-operate with the IC when it directs disclosure of relevant GP records and there is evidence in the papers that the complainant has been excluded from treatment by two health professionals for a breakdown in the healthcare worker/patient relationship it is doubly disappointing that the IC took the view there was a case to answer and that further delay and cost accruing to the GCC, the profession and its insurers was incurred. I am pleased that my client’s professional reputation remains intact but he should not have had the stress, anxiety or cost of waiting for a year to attend this hearing and in my view the case should never have progressed past the IC in the first place.Most other health regulators have procedures in place for screening out vexatious/unmeiri complaints. The GCC have a procedure available to them in their legislation to use screeners. I don't understand why they (unlike the General Osteopathic Council) have never used it?".

Our client commented:-

"I think it is a great shame that the case went as far as it did. I believe a process should be in place to prevent this from occurring in the future along with . However, I cannot deny that the past year and a half has been emotionally and physically draining. I hope that a complaint like that can be prevented from occurring again in the future but from my experiences I do not hold out any great hope this will happen".

Paramedic cleared of all allegations of misconduct at HCPC hearing

Our client faced allegations of misconduct and dishonesty in relation to his colleagues and his patients. The allegations were initially investigated by the London Ambulance Service and then the Investigating Committee of the HCPC who referred it to the Conduct and Competence Committee.  We maintained that they had both reached inconsistent findings in relation to our client and a colleague who had treated a patient. The London Ambulance Service[LAS]/HCPC decided not to call the colleague and it was accepted by the HCPC that her written evidence could not therefore form part of its case. Furthermore as a result of expert cross examination by counsel, Rad Kohanzad of Serjeant’s Inn Chambers http://www.serjeantsinn.com/barristers/rad_kohanzad/professional_discipline_and_regulatory evidence from two police officers was so discredited that “The Panel did not believe their evidence on this issue as there is overwhelming evidence to suggest otherwise. The Panel considers that this conclusion taints the rest of their evidence. The Panel cannot say that other parts of their evidence are fabricated but is of the view that it is discredited such that any allegations based solely on their evidence are not capable of being proved. “
 
As a result of this a number of the allegations were dismissed on findings of no case to answer. Others were found not proved. A few of the allegations were admitted and/or found proved. However those admitted or found proved were not regarded by the Panel as being so serious as to meet the legal threshold for the test for misconduct. Accordingly the Panel determined that misconduct was not found proved on all the allegations.
 
John Williams commented “In my view the LAS and the HCPC overreached themselves with some of the allegations and how they hoped to prove some of the allegations without calling a crucial witness is beyond me. Furthermore the evidence given by the two police officers in the case was astonishing. It is rare indeed for a Panel to find that the evidence of two police officers in a case is so discredited that it would support an allegation of no case to answer under the principles set out in the case of R v Galbraith 1981] 1 WLR 1039.  It is a matter of considerable concern that police officers are prepared to give such discredited evidence but it is testament to the cross examination skills of Mr Kohanzad. Ultimately I am extremely pleased for my client but it is disappointing that he had the stress and anxiety of this attack on his professional reputation hanging over his head for so long and at such cost.“
Our client commented:-“The LAS and HCPC had put me through hell for 3 years, in my opinion the police officers lied, purely as they didn't like me, Our job is difficult enough without fellow members of the emergency services making it more difficult and stressful. I can't thank John & Rad enough. They were both brilliant, I cant recommended them highly enough,I am now looking forward to continuing my career as a paramedic….”

Accountancy Fraud

Bill Wilson Represented a client charged with both Theft and False Accounting.The allegations arose from employment with a leading debt recovery business and involved monies being transferred from a major client’s account. One of the significant issues which arose involved the credibility of electronic data which necessitated the assistance of both a Computer Expert and Forensic Accountant . The case was heard at Guildford Crown Court. Following  a guilty plea, a suspended sentence was imposed and we were successful in negotiating a Confiscation Order of only £100.00.

No Case to Answer: Social Worker cleared of all allegations of Misconduct by Conduct and Competence Committee of the HCPC

Our client is a social worker who was based in a hospital. The complainants had pursed a complaint to the Health Services Ombudsman. His report had been sent to the HCPC. We successfully challenged the admissibility of the Ombudsman’s report in these disciplinary proceedings. We were also able to point out significant gaps in the evidence put forward by the HCPC. They found “evidence provided by the HCPC as to the Registrant’s responsibility for the alleged acts and omissions particularised in the allegation was generally vague, inconsistent and inherently weak”.

This resulted in a submission of no case to answer being upheld by the CCC in relation to all of the allegations our client faced. Furthermore they found that even if they had found there was a case to answer in relation to any of the allegations “the Panel was of the view that none of the particulars, if proved, would have constituted a serious departure from the standards of conduct to be expected of a registered Social Worker in the circumstances. The Panel would not therefore have found misconduct.”

John Williams commented “Jonathan Goldring, the barrister we instructed, did an excellent job in this case. I made written representations to the HCPC Investigating Committee and their lawyers throughout these proceedings as to the weakness of their case. Unfortunately these fell on deaf ears and a full 5 day hearing was necessary in this case. It is very unusual for a disciplinary committee to find no case to answer in relation to all allegations. Whilst I am obviously delighted for my client whose name has been cleared, the delay (4 years from when the allegations arose), the cost and last but not least the stress and anxiety caused to my client over this period is deeply regrettable.”

Our client commented about John Williams: "It is such a relief that this case is over as it was impacting on my life. It was reassuring to meet John as he was immediately supportive, knowledgeable and insightful into the detail of my case and as a result I

And he said about Jonathan Goldring J Goldring website: Jonathan's knowledge and experience of my case and legal detail in the lead up, and during the hearing was terrific. During the hearing itself, I felt that Jonathan was always "2 steps ahead" of the HCPC- all I can say I would never want to be on the other side of the Court room from Jonathan!

All I can say really is that these two chaps were a real blessing!"