The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) disciplinary committee has decided it was satisfied that a veterinary surgeon previously convicted for sexual offences in 2016 was fit to be restored to the register following his removal in 2017.
On the 17 and 18 May 2017 George Martin appeared before the committee in relation to an allegation that he was unfit to practise by virtue of his conviction in the Edinburgh Sheriff Court on 17 August 2016.
The conviction followed a guilty plea in relation to two charges of ‘Breach of the Peace (Sexual)’ which took place on various dates between 17 August 2014 and 23 March 2015 in several locations in Edinburgh.
On 27 September 2016, Martin was sentenced to a Community Pay-Back Order, comprising a supervision period of 12 months and unpaid work/activities for a requirement of 160 hours, to be completed within six months. His name was added to the Sex Offenders’ Register for one year.
Following the incident, in 2017 the RCVS disciplinary committee found that the conviction rendered Martin “unfit to practise veterinary surgery”. In its decision on unfitness to practise, the committee noted aggravating features including the “potential for injury to the mental health of his victims”, “recklessness as to the impact of his behaviour on the victims”, the premeditated nature of his crimes, the repetition of his misconduct, and that the case involved sexual misconduct which led to his place on the Sex Offenders’ Register for a year.
At the recent restoration hearing, the committee heard evidence from Martin and four character referees.
Ian Green, chairing the committee and speaking on its behalf, said: “It is clear that he has demonstrated genuine remorse and insight. He was able to articulate the negative impact that his criminal behaviour had inflicted on those veterinary surgeons who trained him and on the veterinary profession.
“The applicant in fact resigned from his position as a veterinary surgeon when he knew he was to be charged with the offences which demonstrated a responsible attitude on his part in seeking to protect the reputation of the profession.
“It was also clear from his own evidence that he now has a full understanding of the triggers and stressors that caused him to act in that way. The committee was reassured by the applicant’s attendance and engagement with counselling with Relate counselling service, completion of an online course understanding violence against women… run by the University of Strathclyde; and the RCVS Mind Matters Course.
He added: “In the intervening period of time from when he was removed from the register he has made significant efforts to keep himself up to date with CPD courses, observing in veterinary practices and volunteering.”
“In the Committee’s view he has done as much as he possibly could to keep his veterinary skills up-to-date since he was removed from the register 21 months ago. This is not a case that concerns animal welfare issues and he was invariably described as a kind and caring veterinary surgeon.”
After carefully considering all the evidence, the committee made the decision that Martin was fit to be restored to the register.