Dismissed charges not evidence of misconduct for health professionals

Health professionals with charges before the courts need the assistance of a criminal lawyer, but they should also access the legal services of counsel who handle regulatory matters to deal with disciplinary or other proceedings arising from such allegations, Lonny tells Advocate Daily.

case that went before the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board (HPARB) highlights the type of regulatory proceedings that can occur as a result of criminal charges being laid against a health professional — and that they don’t always go away after an acquittal.

In this matter, the registration committee directed the Registrar of Ontario’s College of Physicians and Surgeons to refuse to issue a certificate to a physician after he was charged with drugging and sexually assaulting two women, says the HPARB decision. The certificate of registration was to authorize the physician to continue postgraduate education in Ontario, it says.  

After the criminal charges were dismissed, and allegations of professional misconduct — that were referred to the College’s discipline committee — were withdrawn, the doctor successfully challenged the determination by the registration committee that he did not meet the criteria for registration. HPARB found the registration committee’s conclusion to not register the doctor to be unreasonable, says its decision.

The matter is instructive and specifically shows that for an application for registration to be refused on the grounds that the applicant doesn’t meet the non-exemptible standard, there has to be more than just a suspicion of wrongdoing.

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