In December 2010, Dr T was found guilty of professional misconduct following a three day fitness to practise hearing at the Medical Council. The finding arose from an alleged unwarranted and inappropriate internal examination on a single occasion, in January 1996, at a surgery in rural Ireland.
On the first and last day of the hearing, Dr T made an application that the hearing should not proceed given the 14 year delay in bringing the complaint, and the consequent prejudice he would face. Both applications were refused by the Fitness to Practise Committee ("FPC").
Dr T appealed the finding of misconduct to the High Court under section 75 of the Medical Practitioners Act 2007. As a preliminary issue, the Court considered Dr T's argument that the FPC should not have proceeded with the initial hearing, due to the lengthy delay.
The Court held that Dr T had been placed in avirtually impossible position in trying to defend the complaint against him. At the time of the alleged incident, he had between 1500 and 2000 patients in his practice. Given the delay of 14 years, records from that time period had not been retained (unless there were particular reasons for doing so). Consequently, he had no records to which...