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We represented a chiropractor who had been convicted of drink driving. He failed to disclose the conviction to the GCC within the required 7 days. When the time came for renewal of his registration because of various mitigating circumstances he did not disclose the conviction. What saved him from probable erasure was that within 10 days of completing the online registration form he volunteered to the GCC that he had been convicted. Whilst his initial reluctance to disclose was foolhardy in the extreme and something he conceded to the PCC for which he"only had himself to blame" his voluntary disclosure within a short time afterwards turned out to be his saving grace. As it turned out our client passed a health assessment required by the GCC and, after careful consideration, the PCC  found that the drink drive conviction did not have material relevance to our client's fitness to practise so  if he had disclosed it when he should he may have avoided a disciplinary finding altogether.

  In suspending him for one month the PCC found that our client's "voluntary rectification of his dishonesty, when he contacted the GCC ten days after making his false statement, to be a strongly mitigating feature which indicated to the Committee that his dishonest conduct was out of character. In coming to this conclusion the Committee also took into account the positive references and testimonials provided by us on our client's behalf.  The Committee found that our client had full insight and was highly unlikely to repeat this conduct and felt that a short period of suspension of one month was a proportionate and appropriate sanction. It found that "his ultimate honesty with his regulator to be a strongly mitigating factor which reduced significantly the period of suspension it would otherwise have imposed."

John Williams commented. "I was particularly pleased with this result for our client and impressed with the reasons of the PCC in this case. Dishonesty, particularly if it involves the regulator, will always be viewed very seriously by Professional Conduct Committees and unless there are exceptional circumstances will usually result in erasure. However there are exceptions and this case is a very good example of a Professional Conduct Committee accepting the initial dishonesty to be out of character and the importance of rectifying the dishonesty within a very short period of time. Like the PCC I do not believe that our client's conduct in this case was fundamentally incompatible with continued registration as a chiropractor and that a one month suspension was a proportionate and appropriate sanction. I believe the PCC in this case recognised that the public's confidence in the profession would be adequately protected by the suspension imposed and to erase or impose a lengthy suspension could have sent out the wrong message to registrants that initial dishonesty was irredeemable and that little or no credit should be allowed for a voluntary and full admission within a short period of time. Whilst our client's finances and reputation will be seriously affected by the findings after the suspension he will be able to continue with his practice, provide treatment to his patients and continue to support his young family and staff in his practice. In this case honesty was the best policy for my client but if you are seeking to address dishonesty you should not delay. In my view this was a judgment of Solomon."