Current AffairsVeterinary

Committee finds vet fit to practise despite conviction

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Disciplinary Committee has found a Lancashire-based veterinary surgeon not unfit to practise following his conviction for careless driving causing death.

The hearing of the case against Colm Doherty took place on Tuesday 28 and Wednesday 29 May 2019 when the committee, chaired by Mr Ian Green, considered one charge against him.

The charge was that, whilst being registered on the RCVS Register of Veterinary Surgeons, on 13 November 2018 Doherty was convicted following a guilty plea of careless driving causing death and that the conviction rendered him unfit to practise veterinary surgery.

Whilst driving, Doherty had lost control of his vehicle returning from a veterinary conference and his vehicle went across the centre of the road into the path of a car driven by Mary Long, who died at the scene from her injuries.

He was convicted at the Kilkenny Circuit Criminal Court in the Republic of Ireland on 13 November 2018 and on 23 November sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment, suspended in its entirety for two years on the condition that he enter a bond of 500 Euros to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for two years. He was disqualified from driving for five years and fined 5,000 Euros.

It was taken into consideration that Doherty accepted responsibility for the accident from the outset and pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

The committee also took into account that the conviction related to an accident that occurred whilst Doherty was a veterinary student in 2016 rather than a qualified veterinary surgeon.

Green said: “The respondent has always accepted the seriousness of the offence for which he was convicted. There was the tragic loss of life of another road user who was a mother, wife and grandmother and a highly regarded member of the community.

“The respondent prior to the accident was driving properly, not too fast and his car was roadworthy and within two to eight seconds the offence altered the course of his life, and tragically that of Mrs Long, forever. The committee hopes one day in the future the respondent can forgive himself for the tragic loss of life.”

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