I have written before about how GMC procedures are skewed against doctors who are unfortunate enough to come to their attention. How unlikely these doctors are to receive fair and impartial treatment of the sort they could expect as a legal right (article 6) in a proper court.
Within the GMC there are laid down some safeguards for doctors that should ensure some balance but the GMC is perfectly prepared to ride roughshod over these safeguards when they have the scent of blood in their nose.
Dr Phillipp Bonhoeffer, a paediatric cardiac surgeon, has recently been suspended by the GMC, over allegations of child sex abuse supposedly committed before 2004. I have no way of knowing whether or not there is any basis to the allegations, but spurious allegations of abuse are by no means rare. It is imperative therefore that guilt should be properly established before punishment is imposed. (article 7)
The police have investigated, and have brought no charges, partly because of the length of time that has elapsed since the alleged offences were committed, but also because the sole evidence for the offence is the testimony of a third party, hearsay evidence, which would not normally be accepted in a criminal court.
The GMC are not hindered by such inconveniences. Although their own policy is not to investigate allegations going back for more than 5 years they have decided to ignore that. They have also decided to accept hearsay evidence going back to events of eight years ago. The GMC of course are above the Human Rights Act, in their own eyes at least, and in this attitude they have previous form.
The unfortunate Dr Bonhoeffer therefore is at a great disadvantage. He is not going to have the opportunity to have his accuser cross examined, to question the only “evidence“ against him, which he denies strongly. The GMC, freed from any obligation to prove the offence to criminal standards, have probably made up their mind already. Fair trial my arse.