Disciplinary Committee dismiss case against Staffordshire vet

28 June 2011

Please note
This is an archived news story. Mr Richard Conlon remains on the RCVS Register of Members and he is therefore currently entitled to practise as a veterinary surgeon in the UK.

The RCVS Disciplinary Committee yesterday 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 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.


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