QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
| THE PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS AUTHORITY
- and -
(1) THE GENERAL CHIROPRACTIC COUNCIL
(2) CAMERON BRIGGS
Victoria Butler-Cole (instructed by the General Chiropractic Council) for the First Respondent
The Second Respondent did not appear and was not represented
Hearing date: 24th June 2014
Crown Copyright ©
Mrs Justice Lang:
a) The GCC as prosecutor erred in failing to bring charges of dishonesty against Mr Briggs in respect of representations that he made to his employers concerning his registration and insurance.
b) On the facts found proved, the sanction was unduly lenient having regard to the Registrant's lack of insight, remediation or remorse, and the Committee's own finding that there was a risk of repetition.
c) The Committee failed to give adequate reasons for its decision.
"That, being a registered chiropractor:
1. At all material times you practised as a chiropractor at the Kingdom Chiropractic Clinic, 205 South Street, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9EF and 31 Bonny Gate, Cupar, Fife KY15 4BU (the clinics).
2. In around February 2012 you provided chiropractic treatment to one or more patients at the clinics when you were registered with the General Chiropractic Council as a non-practising chiropractor.
3. In around February 2012, you provided chiropractic treatment to one or more patients without having appropriate professional indemnity insurance in place"
The findings of the Professional Conduct Committee
"(a) a relevant decision falling within subsection (1) has been unduly lenient, whether as to any finding of professional misconduct or fitness to practise on the part of the practitioner concerned (or lack of such a finding), or as to any penalty imposed, or both
and that it would be desirable for the protection of members of the public for the Council to take action under this section."
"73. What are the criteria to be applied by the Court when deciding whether a relevant decision was "wrong"? The task of the disciplinary tribunal is to consider whether the relevant facts demonstrate that the practitioner has been guilty of the defined professional misconduct that gives rise to the right or duty to impose a penalty and, where they do, to impose the penalty that is appropriate, having regard to the safety of the public and the reputation of the profession. The role of the Court when a case is referred is to consider whether the disciplinary tribunal has properly performed its task so as to reach a correct decision as to the imposition of penalty. Is that different from the role of the Council in considering whether a relevant decision has been 'unduly lenient'? We do not consider that it is. The test of undue leniency in this context must, we think, involve considering whether, having regard to the material facts, the decision reached had due regard for the safety of the public and the reputation of the profession."
"The intervention of the Council under section 29, whether to put in issue an acquittal or the adequacy of a sentence, clearly places a practitioner under the stress of having his case reopened when it would otherwise be closed. This element of double jeopardy is, however, necessarily inherent in the scheme of review under section 29. The object of that scheme is the protection of the public and the Council can only refer a decision to the High Court when it considers that this is necessary for the protection of the public. We do not find it surprising that where this requirement is satisfied considerations of double jeopardy should take second place."
i) on the evidence, and applying its own rules, should the GCC have included the further allegations in the charge;
ii) if so, did the failure to include those allegations in the charge mean that the Court is unable to determine whether the sanction was unduly lenient or not.
Allegations of dishonesty
"1. At all material times you practised as a chiropractor at the Kingdom Chiropractic Clinic, 205 South Street, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9EF and 31 Bonnygate, Cupar, Fife KY15 4BU ("the Clinics").
2. In around February 2012, you provided chiropractic treatment to approximately 150 – 180 patients at the Clinics when you were registered with the General Chiropractic Council as a non-practising chiropractor.
3. In around February 2012, you provided chiropractic treatment to approximately 150 – 180 patients without having appropriate professional indemnity insurance in place.
4. When you provided the treatment described at paragraph 2 above, you knew you were registered with the General Chiropractic Council as a non-practising chiropractor.
5. When you provided the treatment described at paragraph 3 above, you knew you did not have the appropriate professional indemnity insurance in place.
6. In securing and/or maintaining the employment described at particular 1 above, you acted dishonestly in that, expressly or impliedly, you held yourself out as meeting the regulatory requirements for practise in the United Kingdom in terms of:-
a) being registered as a practising chiropractor with the General Chiropractic Council; and
b) possessing professional indemnity insurance in respect of the provision of chiropractic advice and treatment, when you knew you did not meet those requirements.
7. On a date prior to 28th February 2012, when you informed the practice manager of the clinics that you would bring in proof of your professional indemnity insurance, you acted dishonestly in that you knew you did not possess such insurance.
8. On or about 1st March 2012, when you informed the owner of the clinics that it was not the case that you were registered with the General Chiropractic Council as a non-practising chiropractor, you acted dishonestly in that you knew you were registered as non-practising.
9. On or about 4th March 2012, when by e-mail you informed the owner of the clinics that you had completed the forms for registration as a practising chiropractor and sent them by facsimile to the General Chiropractic Council, you acted dishonestly in that you knew you had not sent the forms to the Council."
Unduly lenient sanction
Failure to give adequate reasons