Reza v General Medical Council

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
CourtPrivy Council
Judgment Date04 March 1991

Judicial Committee of the Privy Council

Before Lord Keith of Kinkel, Lord Oliver of Aylmerton and Lord Lowry

General Medical Council

Medical practitioner - professional conduct committee - procedure

All maters alleged against medical practitioners should be heard together

In proceedings before the professional conduct committee of the General Medical Council all matters alleged against a medical practitioner should be heard and considered together. Separate charges were suitable where two distinct types of misconduct were alleged and where the determination that one type of misconduct was established could not reasonably aggravate the seriousness of the other misconduct.

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council so held in dismissing an appeal by Dr Mohammed Ali Reza against the determination of the professional conduct committee of the GMC on March 12, 1990 that by reason of a finding of serious professional misconduct his registration in the register be erased.

Mr Kieran Coonan, QC and Miss Nicola Davies for Dr Reza; Mr Andrew Collins, QC and Miss Rosalind Foster for the GMC.

LORD LOWRY said that by notice of enquiry the appellant was charged with (1) on numerous occasions at his surgery making improper and indecent remarks to an employee and behaving improperly towards her; (2) making improper and indecent remarks to another employee; (3) and (4) making improper and indecent remarks and improper behaviour to two other employees; (5), (6) and (7a) abusing his professional position in order to make improper and indecent remarks to three different patients; and that in relation to the facts alleged in each head of the charge he had been guilty of serious professional misconduct.

There was only one charge, serious professional misconduct, but all concerned treated the notice as seven different charges of serious professional misconduct.

A difficulty was created for the committee, the legal assessor and counsel by the fact that counsel's submissions were made and considered under the shadow of certain observations appended to the judgment of the Board inLanford v General Medical CouncilELR ([1990] 1 AC 13) which suggested applying to hearings before the committee procedures which were appropriate only to trial on indictment.

Mr Coonan applied for each of the seven charges to be tried separately. The legal assessor advised the committee that charges 1-4 (group A), which were concerned with the appellant's conduct towards four receptionists employed by him, might properly be heard together and that charges 6 and 7(a) (group B), which were concerned with his conduct towards two patients, might properly be heard together. Charge 5 was not...

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