GMC v Dr Z (2020)

Selva Ramasamy QC succeeds in abuse of process submission at the MPTS, persuading the MPT that to proceed with the allegation would undermine public confidence in the regulatory process.

Selva Ramasamy QC defended a doctor facing an allegation of violent conduct towards his son. The GMC was relying on alleged conduct in the doctor’s personal/home life as a basis to allege that his fitness to practise as a doctor was impaired.   

In his witness statement, besides alleging violent conduct, the complainant had made a series of additional wide ranging and serious allegations against the doctor. These additional allegations related to medical practice. Startlingly, the GMC had declined to investigate any of those (medical) matters, and had instead chosen to proceed solely with the allegation of violent conduct. 

In a series of hearings spanning one of the longest preliminary hearings ever heard by the MPTS, Selva argued that the GMC had a duty to investigate those other matters and/or to obtain disclosure relevant to them. The MPT agreed. The GMC failed to obtain that disclosure, in part because the complainant refused consent.

Selva then argued that to proceed with the allegation in those circumstances would amount to an abuse of process - both because the doctor could not have a fair trial and because to proceed with the allegation would undermine public confidence in the regulatory process. Put simply - how could it be right that a complainant could be permitted to make wide ranging and serious allegations if through his refusal of consent he then prevented the GMC, MPT and the defence from investigating or challenging them?

The MPT agreed, staying the allegation as an abuse of process, on the rare basis that to proceed  with the allegation would undermine public confidence in the regulatory process.

This is the third 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 and GMC v Dr x 2019-2020).

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