A dentist who was handed a restraining order after turning up at the home of a dental nurse uninvited has been suspended.
The GDC suspended the dentist for a period of nine months after considering his ‘distressing and intimidating’ behaviour.
The dentist met the dental nurse – referred to as Person A – at a workshop in December 2016, after which he contacted Person A in an attempt to pursue a relationship with her.
In July 2017, the police issued him with a warning, which he signed in the following terms: ‘…I was informed of a complaint made by [Person A] of harassment against me. I have been informed by police that I cannot talk to her or any member of her family either directly or indirectly. If I do communicate with her I am aware that I risk arrest and being charged with harassment.’
In 2018, the police spoke to the clinician again after a further complaint from Person A. It alleged that the dentist had contacted her through a religious leader in an attempt to arrange a marriage with her.
A community resolution was explained where the dentist accepted that Person A did not want a relationship and he was told to have no further contact.
Admission of charges
Two years later in August 2020, the dentist was arrested in connection with harassment of Person A. This followed further complaints that he had contacted her directly in June 2020.
Allegations included sending a friend request on Instagram and a voice recording to Person A in June and again in July after they had blocked him. He was also accused attending Person A’s home in July and August.
When interviewed by the police, he admitted the charges.
When the matter proceeded to trial, the prosecution – with Person A’s agreement – offered no evidence against the dentist in exchange for agreeing to be made subject to a five-year restraining order.
As a result, on 19 May 2021, Loughborough Magistrates’ Court imposed a restraining order on the dentist that, among other conditions, forbade any direct or indirect contact with Person A.
The GDC states that the police records available to the committee indicated that the dentist’s unwanted communications from 2017 onwards were ‘distressing and intimidating’ for Person A and her family.
‘For a period so intimidated by your approaches to her that she felt unable to go outside alone and needed a chaperone,’ said the GDC report.
‘The police records also indicate that all she wanted was for you to stop contacting her and her family: she was not interested in pursuing any relationship with you.’
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As a result, the regulator suspended the dentist for a period of nine months with immediate effect.
The sanction reads: ‘Although the harassment found proved [under charge 1] is particularly serious in its true context, it is not so serious as to make erasure necessary.
‘The committee also considered your misconduct to be remediable through further learning and reflection.
‘In the committee’s judgement, a period of suspension with a review would be sufficient to protect patients and the public, in so far as your professional standing as a dentist would grant you access to them, and to maintain wider public confidence in the profession.
‘A period of suspension would be sufficient to mark the seriousness of your misconduct and to allow you further time within which to demonstrate further reflection and remediation, and to develop insight into the impact of your behaviour.’
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