Victor Daniel Pousada Garcia appeared before the Committee on 18 and 19 December following his conviction for harassment at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court in September 2017 for which offence the magistrates sentenced him to six weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.
The magistrates also imposed a restraining order and ordered Mr Garcia to pay compensation and costs as well as a surcharge to fund victim services.
The harassment conviction related to incidents between 30 September 2016 and 27 December 2016 in which Mr Garcia engaged in conduct that amounted to harassment towards a woman including sending offensive text messages, visiting her place of work, attempting to contact her through social media, going to her home address and driving past her home address.
At the outset of the hearing Mr Garcia admitted the College’s charge against him and that his conviction rendered him unfit to practise veterinary surgery.
Following cross-examination of Mr Garcia on the facts of the case and having considered representation from his counsel, the Disciplinary Committee found that Mr Garcia’s conduct leading to conviction and the conviction itself rendered him unfit to practise as a veterinary surgeon.
Mehmuda Mian, chairing the Committee and speaking on its behalf, said: “It was a serious conviction as demonstrated by the sentence imposed and by the nature of the harassment. It brought distress on [the victim] and will have damaged the reputation of the veterinary profession. The respondent was right to accept that this was the case.”
Ms Mian concluded: “The Committee has determined to suspend the respondent’s registration for a period of five months. This sanction reflects the seriousness of the conviction and the concerns expressed by the Committee in this determination.
“It will send a message to the respondent and to the profession that conduct such as this is unacceptable. It will afford an opportunity to the respondent to reflect further on his behaviour.”
Mr Garcia will have 28 days from the end of the hearing to appeal against the Committee’s decision.