GMC v Dr x (2019-20)

Selva Ramasamy QC succeeds in abuse of process submission at the MPTS, persuading the MPT that the GMC’s approach to the case “would undermine public confidence in the system of GMC/MPT regulation, and bring it into disrepute”.

Selva Ramasamy QC defended a doctor facing an allegation of sexual behaviour towards a patient. The GMC maintained that it would not call the patient as a witness, or even present her statement to the MPT. Selva objected to this course. In a preliminary hearing spanning 14 days (covering a wide range of matters and believed to be the longest preliminary hearing ever heard by the MPTS) Selva demonstrated the unfair stance the GMC had taken to the case. Part way through that legal argument, the GMC indicated that it was abandoning the allegation of sexual motivation, but later sought to resurrect it. Selva then ran an abuse of process argument. The Tribunal accepted Selva’s submissions, and stayed the allegation of sexual motivation on the rarely exercised basis that to allow it to proceed would undermine public confidence in the system of GMC/MPT regulation, and bring it into disrepute. 

The Tribunal ruled as follows:

"The Tribunal recognised that it has an inescapable duty to secure fair treatment for those who come or are brought before it. The question that it must consider is whether it offends the Tribunal’s sense of justice and propriety for it to oblige Dr X to face the allegation of sexual motivation in the particular circumstances of this case. The Tribunal was acutely aware that granting a stay is a very serious matter and, to quote Sir Brian Leveson in the case of Crawley [2014] EWCA Crim 1028, it ‘is a remedy of last resort’. Nevertheless, taking all of the above into account, the Tribunal determined that the circumstances of this case were exceptional and warranted a stay of the allegation of sexual motivation. The Tribunal has formed the view that it would undermine public confidence in the system of GMC/MPT regulation, and bring it into disrepute if it did not order a stay in this case.” 

This is the second time in 18 months in which Selva has succeeded in an abuse of process submission on this exceptional basis (see R v PC X, Newcastle CC and CACD 2018-2019).

Contact our experts for further advice

View profile for Selva Ramasamy QCSelva Ramasamy QC