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Double jeopardy

Dealing with an application for stay of proceedings by a doctor against whom disciplinary proceedings had been brought following his acquittal of offences relating to the same grounds as the proceedings Newman J observed:
"In my judgment where the application relates to an independent tribunal as here, established by rules, governed by its own procedures, and having a specialised expertise to bring to play within its jurisdiction, the responsibility for deciding whether its procedures have been abused should, unless weighty circumstances point to another conclusion, be decided by it. That is but to give proper recognition to the integrity and independence of the tribunal exercising its jurisdiction over its own affairs.
There is no rule of law which prevents a disciplinary tribunal, such as the PCC of the General Medical Council, from investigating conduct which has been the subject matter of a trial and which has resulted in the acquittal at trial of, for example, a doctor of a criminal offence. There is no dispute as to that. [Counsel for the doctor] loyally accepts that to flow from the case of R (Redgrave) v Commissioner of the Metropolis [2003] 1 WLR 1136. There is general guidance given by Simon Brown LJ in paragraph 46 of his judgment, all of which of course is in point, and there are earlier observations disclosing his reasons for concluding that what is sometimes called the double jeopardy rule has no application as such a strict rule.
In my judgment it is essential to remember in this case, so that the eye is kept on the mark, that what is at issue in these matters is the professional standards of conduct of a medical practitioner. It is obvious that it is pre-eminently for the professional body to determine whether the evidence relevant to the discharge of professional standards reaches its required standard of proof in a case where there has been criminal prosecution which has failed, for it to consider whether the allegations of professional misconduct are, for example, capable of being freestanding from any determination in the court, and for the professional standards committee to pay regard to the direction given by Simon Brown LJ in paragraph 46 of the judgment in Redgrave.": R (Phillips) v General Medical Council [2004] EWHC 1858 (Admin).
See also the judgment of Langstaff J in Bhatt v General Medical Council [2011] EWHC 783 (Admin).

 

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