QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
1 Oxford Row
B e f o r e :
|PROFESSOR NINIAN PECKITT||Appellant|
|GENERAL DENTAL COUNCIL||Respondent|
WordWave International Limited Trading as DTI
165 Fleet Street London EC4A 2DY
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(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
Ms Eloise Power (instructed by Capsticks Solicitors LLP) appeared on behalf of the Defendant
Crown Copyright ©
MR JUSTICE KERR:
"[The PCC] concluded, based on all the evidence before it, that Professor Peckitt was aware of the untruthful nature of the statements that he made on multiple occasions …. ."
"... no appreciation ... of the seriousness of his blatant and wilful disregard of the standards placed upon by him on his regulators."
"(i) I can only overturn the decision ... if I am satisfied that it was either wrong or unjust because of a serious procedural or other irregularity...
(ii) In determining whether the decision was wrong, I must pay close regard to the special expertise of the [tribunal] to make the required judgment.
(iii) Equally, I must have in mind that the exercise is centrally concerned with the reputation and standards of the profession and the protection of the public rather than the punishment of the doctor.
(iv) The High Court will correct material errors of fact and of law and it will exercise a judgment, although distinctly and firmly a secondary judgment, as to the application of the principles to the facts of the case.
(v) Where the appeal is against a sanction, my decision must not constitute an exercise in resentencing or the substitution of one view of the merits for another."
"... had no power to go behind the primary findings of fact made by the GMC's MTPS Panel in determining the case under section 27(2) (g) of the 1984 Act and …. it correctly did not do so."
"The Committee was of the view that the correspondence between Professor Peckitt and the GMC and Professor Peckitt and the GDC demonstrates that he has not been honest in his communications, and in particular the inaccurate statements detailed in charge 2. The Committee noted that none of the emails containing these inaccurate statements were copied to the GDC by Professor Peckitt, although he did copy in a number of other people and organisations into the emails. This explains why that [sic] the first time the GDC were made aware of these emails was when contacted by the GMC to query the accuracy of the statements. This was supported by his statement to the GMC in an email dated 19 March 2015 in which he stated 'Please note that Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is a Dental Specialty and therefore comes under the regulation of the GDC as a specialty. Therefore the views of the GDC are relevant.' In his correspondence to the GDC, dated 21 January 2016, he stated 'the GDC has no remit or authority to hear a case related to Maxillofacial Surgery which is a Medical Specialty and outside their jurisdiction…' The Committee was of the view that the opinions expressed by Professor Peckitt alter dependent upon the recipient of his correspondence.
The Committee was referred to the judgment in the case of Twinsectra ... which outlined the principle of 'Nelsonian Dishonesty'. This principle is derived from when Lord Nelson at the battle of Copenhagen made a deliberate decision to place the telescope to his blind eye in order to avoid seeing what he knew he would see if he placed it to his good eye. As such the Committee was invited to consider whether Professor Peckitt 'turned a blind eye' to the inaccuracy of the statements that he made to the GMC. The Committee concluded that Professor Peckitt was aware that the statements he was making were untrue and as such did not consider that he simply turned a blind eye.
The Committee ... considered whether Professor Peckitt's statements were innocent or even negligent mistakes in which case they would not have been dishonest. It concluded, based on all the evidence before it, that Professor Peckitt was aware of the untruthful nature of the statements that he made on multiple occasions and considered that these were not innocent or negligent statements. The Committee was of the view that the reasonable and honest dentist, in possession of all the facts of this case, would consider that Professor Peckitt's conduct was dishonest. The Committee also concluded that Professor Peckitt was aware that the statements that he was making had no basis in truth and therefore he was acting dishonestly. As such this charge is found proved."