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England and Wales High Court (Administrative Court) Decisions
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales High Court (Administrative Court) Decisions >> Abusara-Darwich v General Dental Council  EWHC 1856 (Admin) (07 July 2016)
Cite as:  EWHC 1856 (Admin)
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QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
London WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
|GENERAL DENTAL COUNCIL||Respondent|
WordWave International Limited
Trading as DTI
8th Floor, 165 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2DY
Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Fax No: 020 7404 1424
(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
Mr D Collins (instructed by Capsticks) appeared on behalf of the Respondent
Crown Copyright ©
"1. Have you been working as a dentist abroad during the time you were not registered with the GDC?"
"2. Have you been working as a dentist in the UK during the time you were not registered with the GDC?"
"Have you been convicted of a criminal offence or cautioned or are you currently the subject of any police investigations which might lead to a conviction or a caution in the UK or any other country?"
"I know that if I make any false declaration in this application
My registration may be refused and/or
I may be referred to the appropriate authority who may prosecute
I may be charged with professional misconduct."
"We have also received information that you may have been convicted of drink-driving in 2012 -- can you confirm if this is the case? If so, please can you provide details of the offence, the court, and the date of the hearing? Please can you also confirm if you have any other cautions or convictions and any details for the same."
"Regarding the drink-driving offence, I have been convicted on Tuesday 18 September of 2012 due to drink-driving. There was an economic fine and a suspension from driving for two years. [The names of his then employers] were immediately informed about this issue when it has happened. [The name of his current employer in September 2014] is also fully aware of this.
My legal body organisation has just confirmed to me that this issue should have been reported to the GDC by myself back in 2012. I truly apologise as I was not aware of this and at the time the owners of the practice presented no objection relating to this issue, which has now spent."
"Your conduct at 5(b) above was:
7(a) misleading; admitted and found proved.
7(b) dishonest in that you knew when you completed and caused the application to be submitted that you:
7(b)(i) had been convicted of the criminal offences set out at paragraphs 1 and 2 above.
Admitted and found proved."
Q. ... when you filled out this form, did you believe the Isle of Man to be part of the United Kingdom?
Q. Where did you believe it to be, the Isle of Man; if you did not believe it to be part of the UK, where did you believe it to be?
A. It is independent. It is not part of Europe either I believe.
Q. If you believed it to be an independent island, what made you apply for registration with the General Dental Council?
A. I know GDC regulates the dentistry on the Isle of Man as well. However always when you fill forms, many forms, it is all they ask for specifically for the Isle of Man. All other countries, they specify other countries and British Isles. I did not interpret that as if they referred that I had been working only in the UK as it was not specified British Isles or other country ..."
Q. Just following on from that, given that you knew it was not part of the UK, so you ticked no. Why did you think it was abroad?
A. What did I think?
Q. Did you think it was abroad?
A. No, I did not think it was abroad ... possibly should have written by hand that I had been working on the Isle of Man, but answering those questions I was not trying to mislead or be dishonest. Possibly should have written that I had been working on the Isle of Man ..."
"On or about 10 January 2014 you completed and caused to be submitted to the GDC an application to be restored it to the register ... and:
(a) placed a tick in the box marked 'no' in response to the questions at section 1, which read:
[and then the question in relation to working in the UK is set out];
[and then the question in relation to working abroad is set out]."
"5. On or about 10 January 2014 you completed and caused to be submitted to the GDC an application form to be restored to the register and:
5(a) placed a tick in the box marked 'no' in response to the questions at section 1 which read:
5(a)(i) have you been working as a dentist in the UK ...
Admitted and found proved.
5(a)(ii) have you been working as a dentist abroad ...
Admitted and found proved."
"6. Your conduct at 5(a) above was:
Found proved ..."
"6(b) dishonest ..."
"... considered that your conduct in ticking the boxes marked 'no' was misleading. The Committee considered that by ticking both boxes indicating that you had not worked as a dentist either in the UK or abroad, it is more likely than not that the person processing the form would be led to believe that you had not worked anywhere as a dentist whilst unregistered."
"I want to be as cooperative as I could of course and I was raising the point, I was trying to clarify the points raised in the previous email and give details of the questions being asked but I did not answer the second question. That was oversight from my part. Again I was not minded to mislead or be dishonest at all by not answering that question. It was a pure mistake and oversight and I would expect also that if -- first of all at least she would have those details from me and also that I could have been asked again to -- was not a misstatement to answer that second question but was a pure oversight and if I could have been asked again, I would happily have provided the details again ..."
"I know that in January I did -- I was dishonest with that. I'm really, really sorry I did that. Then in September, again it was not my intention to mislead, it was pure mistake."
"On or about 29 September 2014 you replied to an email from the GDC that referred to your conviction at paragraph 2 above and asked you to '... confirm if you have any other cautions or convictions ...' without informing the GDC of your conviction at 1 above [viz the 2011 conviction in Fermanagh].
Admitted and found proved."
"Your conduct at 9 above was dishonest in that you knew when you replied to the GDC's email that you:
10(a) had been convicted as set out at paragraph 1 above;
10(b) were obliged to disclose the conviction at 1 above to the GDC.
Found proved ..."
"You told the committee that it was not a conscious decision to leave out information and not disclose your convictions."
"Given that, you must have been aware in September 2014 that you were obliged to disclose the [Fermanagh] conviction ..."
"The committee had sight of the email and your response. It noted that you answered all questions with the exception of the question asking whether you have any other cautions or convictions and asking for any details of the same. The committee considered that by not answering this specific question but answering the others your email was misleading. The committee was satisfied on the balance of probabilities that not responding to the specific question asked was deliberate rather than an oversight. Further, the committee was of the view that the obligation was on you throughout to disclose your convictions and not for the GDC to make repeated requests for information. The committee did not accept the submission made on your behalf that there could be no motive for you not answering this question ...
The committee considered, based on all of the above, that your conduct was dishonest by the standards of the reasonable and honest dentist and you knew your conduct was dishonest by those standards."
"The committee was surprised that more material was not before it to evidence that you, as a young professional, have addressed the issues relating to these two convictions. The committee was satisfied, based on the information before it, that there remains a risk of repetition of the behaviour that led to the two convictions."
"Erasure will be appropriate when the behaviour is fundamentally incompatible with being a dental professional: any of the following factors, or a combination of them, may point to such a conclusion:
Serious departure(s) from the relevant professional standards;
Serious dishonesty, particularly where persistent or covered up;
A persistent lack of insight into the seriousness of actions or their consequences."
"You were given the opportunity to correct your initial dishonesty but instead chose to be dishonest again in order to cover up your initial dishonesty."
"This was a foolish omission by [the appellant] for which he is remorseful ... he was unaware of the duty to tell the GDC. In regard to both convictions [the appellant] informed his then employers ... he was not told by either employer that he had a duty personally to inform the GDC."
"... informed my employer at the relevant time of both convictions. At the time my employer was discussing matters with the GDC, they were aware I had two convictions for drink driving."
"I had informed both employers of the two convictions at the relevant time. I was not informed that I was under a duty to inform the GDC. The GDC had received the information from my employer. I would have expected my employer to notify the GDC of all relevant matters."
"... also I honestly did not know I had to declare them to the GDC when they happened. My employers knew -- were fully aware of these convictions ..."
"His employer then raised issues about his previous convictions [I emphasise the use of the plural] for driving, which is why the investigation commenced, and that was because [the appellant] has always notified his employers about these convictions [I emphasise the plural] ... he did notify them of those convictions.
The employer then notified the General Dental Council and the two convictions [I emphasise the plural] came to the surface ..."
"The committee must investigate and establish the truth or otherwise of what the appellant asserts. In the event that it is correct (or must be assumed in his favour if there is no evidence to contradict it) that the appellant did inform his employer of both convictions, the committee must reconsider (i) whether that impacts on their conclusion as to cover up; and (ii) in any event, whether it mitigates the sanction of erasure."