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GOC v Mr AS

Fitness to Practise Committee of the General Optical Council hearing 26 May 2010

GOC v Mr AS

The allegations considered by the GOC were as follows:

1.a.i. On 2 February 2007 you shouted and swore at members of the public (subsequently amended to ‘on 2 February 2007 you shouted and swore in public’)
1.a.ii you refused to leave the area outside Mode nightclub, Goldsmith Street, Nottingham when requested to do so by an officer of Nottinghamshire Police force;
1.a.iii You were arrested on suspicion of breach o section 5 of the Public Order Act;
1.b.i. On 2 February 2007 Nottinghamshire Police issued you with a fixed penalty notice for causing harassment, alarm or distress contrary to section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986;
1.b.ii. You signed the fixed penalty notice;
2.a.i. On 8 June 2008 you received a police caution for possession of cannabis, a Class C controlled drug contrary to Section 5 of the Misuse Drugs Act 1971; and
2.a.ii. Section 39 assault by beating (battery) contrary to the Criminal Justice Act 1988.
3.a.i. At an interim Order hearing of the Fitness to Practise Committee of the General Optical Council on 19 August 2009 you were asked by Counsel representing you whether you had previously been in any other trouble with the police, or words to that effect;
3.1.ii. Your answer was “no” or words to that effect;
4.a. Your actions referred to at paragraph 3(a)(ii) above were (i.) Dishonest and (ii) Misleading

The registrant admitted particulars 1 2 and 3. Particular 49a)(i) was found not proved and particular 4(a)(ii) was found proved. The Committee found that, on the balance of probabilities, the information the registrant provided may have had the effect of misleading the Committee, but it accepted that the misleading was unintentional on the part of the registrant. The Committee had viewed evidence that the registrant had been in receipt of a fixed penalty notice dated 2 February 2007 and that he had voluntarily disclosed this information having been advised that he was not required to do so by the Association of Optometrists.

The Committee considered whether the registrant’s Fitness to Practise was impaired by way of his conduct and the Caution. The Committee considered that although the registrant’s behaviour constituted misconduct, his fitness to practise as a training Optometrist was not impaired. The Committee noted that both of the incidents which constituted misconduct occurred at times when the registrant was an undergraduate student. There were no earlier or subsequent events of a similar nature. The Committee did not consider that the two incidents could be said to constitute a longer term pattern of behaviour which places the public or patients at risk.

The Committee was greatly impressed by the registrant’s own evidence, his candour and insight and particularly his awareness of the distress he had caused to his own family. Considerable weight was attached to the evidence of his current employers who gave evidence as to his ability in dealing with very challenging clients in a depressed area of Dudley. The Committee also took into account the voluntary work he undertook with a youth group.

A warning was issued to the registrant in order to uphold confidence in the professional and to uphold the highest standards of behaviour amongst registrants.