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Successfully represented a doctor at a GMC's Fitness to Practise Panel

25 August 2011

We successfully represented a doctor before the GMC's Fitness to Practise Panel who was accused of incidents of sexual misconduct involving patients. Our client had previously been acquitted of exactly the same matters in a full trial in the Crown Court, but the GMC were able to investigate his fitness to practice as principles of double jeopardy and autrefois acquit do not apply to GMC proceedings brought following a criminal case.  Unusually in this particular case, there were no additional elements in the charges relating to professional or clinical aspects of the alleged conduct. The GMC case was effectively a re-run of the criminal trial, as the Fitness to Practise Panel had to decide whether the same facts upon which the jury had acquitted were proved. This case brought sharply into focus the change in 2008 in the standard of proof applied at GMC hearings. The standard of proof was lowered from the criminal to the civil standard. In this case, therefore, the jury had had to decide whether the charges were proved "beyond a reasonable doubt" while the GMC Panel had to consider the lower, civil standard of "the balance of probabilities". 
The facts were found not proved by the GMC Panel and we were successful in their finding that our client's fitness to practise was not impaired.