RCVS decision to strike off vet overturned by Privy Council

21 March 2003

Please note: This is an archived news story. Mr Alan Roderick Tait was removed from the RCVS Register of Members on 30 July 2004 on the instruction of the Registrar. He is therefore not currently entitled to practise as a veterinary surgeon in the UK.

The Privy Council yesterday overturned an RCVS decision to strike off a veterinary surgeon for disgraceful conduct in a professional respect. Following his successful appeal, Mr Alan Roderick Tait remains on the Register and may practise veterinary surgery.

The RCVS Disciplinary Committee heard the Inquiry against Mr Tait on three separate occasions in 2002.

In May 2002 the Inquiry was adjourned at Mr Tait’s request due to his ill health, and re-listed for June. Mr Tait was given details of what medical evidence would be required for any further adjournment. In June, when he did not provide this evidence, the Disciplinary Committee proceeded to hear the Inquiry, given the public interest in dealing with the serious charges against him. The hearing was then adjourned until July to give Mr Tait another opportunity to attend. In July Mr Tait attended with legal representatives and argued unsuccessfully that the witnesses should be recalled so that he could test the evidence they had given in June.

Mr Tait challenged the decision against him on the basis that 1) the case should not have been heard in his absence in June, 2) when he attended in July he should have been allowed to contest the case against him, and 3) striking him off the Register was too harsh a penalty.

The Privy Council was sympathetic to the first two arguments, indicating that because the allegations were so serious there should have been further delays to allow Mr Tait more of an opportunity to test the evidence of the RCVS witnesses and present his case.

The details of the Privy Council decision are awaited, but it is expected that they will allow a newly constituted Disciplinary Committee to re-hear the allegations against Mr Tait.

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