RCVS Disciplinary Committee Dismiss Case Against Staffordshire Vet

By Royal College Of Veterinary Surgeons, PRNE
Monday, June 27, 2011

LONDON, June 28, 2011 -


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
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

“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.



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

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

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 href="www.rcvs.org.uk/disciplinary">www.rcvs.org.uk/disciplinary.


For more information please contact:

Claire Millington, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
+44(0)20-7202-0783 / c.millington@rcvs.org.uk  



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