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At his first Disciplinary Committee hearing in January 2018, the Committee directed that Dr Gerhard Schulze Allen’s name be removed from the Register after finding him guilty of serious professional misconduct in respect of four charges against him. These related to an incident of petty theft in California in the United States, and his subsequent dishonesty in not disclosing this to the College.
Following the Disciplinary Committee hearing, Dr Schulze Allen submitted an appeal to the Privy Council. In July 2019, the Privy Council partially upheld his appeal, determining that the RCVS had not proven beyond all reasonable doubt that Dr Schulze Allen’s infraction for petty theft was a conviction under Californian law and therefore Dr Schulze Allen had not made false representations to the College when he said he did not have any criminal convictions or a criminal record.
However, the Privy Council partially upheld the College’s charge that Dr Schulze Allen was dishonest and made false representations when he had, in a written application for restoration to the Register, represented that he did not have any adverse findings and that he should have declared his infraction for petty theft. The Privy Council also set aside the Disciplinary Committee’s original sanction and remitted the task of sanction back to the Disciplinary Committee.
As a result of the Privy Council’s decision, the Disciplinary Committee held a further hearing in relation to Dr Schulze Allen to decide the sanction in relation to the upheld charge against him.
The Committee noted that the aggravating factors were the fact that Dr Schulze Allen was dishonest to his regulator and in making a false declaration, demonstrated a wilful disregard for the regulatory role of the RCVS. In mitigation the Committee considered that there was no harm to animals, that it was a single and isolated incident in an otherwise unblemished career, and that he had accepted his wrongdoing, albeit at a late stage, and was developing some insight.
The Committee considered whether a reprimand or warning would be the most appropriate sanction but determined that this would not reflect the seriousness of the dishonesty in this case, nor maintain public confidence in the profession or uphold proper professional standards of conduct and behaviour.
Ian Green, chairing the Committee and speaking on its behalf, said: "The Committee concluded that the appropriate and proportionate sanction is suspension from the Register for a period of three months. A period of three months reflects the seriousness of the charge. Such a sanction sends a clear message to Dr Schulze Allen, the profession and the public that behaving dishonestly towards the regulator is a serious matter. The Committee considered that removal from the Register would be disproportionate given that this is a single incident and Dr Schulze Allen now accepts his wrongdoing."
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