The RCVS Veterinary Nurse Disciplinary Committee has decided to take no further action against Kai Murray, a veterinary nurse who had been convicted and imprisoned for affray before becoming an RVN.

Mr Murray was charged that he had been convicted of affray at Birmingham Crown Court in 2021 - to which he had pleaded guilty - and given nine months in prison.

Mr Murray applied for anonymity at the start of the disciplinary hearing, which was refused when the Committee decided there were no special circumstances which would justify anonymity.

The Committee considered whether or not the charge rendered him unfit to practise as a veterinary nurse.

Counsel for the RCVS submitted that the conviction was for a serious public order offence in relation to an incident in which another person was left seriously injured.

Although Mr Murray was not directly responsible for the injury, RCVS Counsel submitted that he had brought the profession into disrepute and that his conduct therefore left him unfit to practise.

The Committee took into account that Mr Murray’s involvement in the public order incident was not premeditated, that it took place before his registration as a veterinary nurse, that no injury was caused directly by him nor was he carrying an offensive weapon and that the offence was not gang-related.

However, it did consider that his role in the incident was serious enough to warrant a custodial sentence and that serious physical injuries were sustained by an individual during the incident.

Hilary Lloyd, chairing the Committee and speaking on its behalf, said: “The Committee assessed the incident to be serious, taking into account its nature and circumstances as set out above.

"It led to serious physical injuries inflicted by a sword in a public place.

"Children were present at the scene at one point, as remarked upon by the Judge.

“The Committee considered the wider public interest.

"Taking into account the view of the reasonable member of the public who is well-informed of all the facts and evidence in the case, the Committee was satisfied that the Respondent’s behaviour and conviction brings the veterinary nursing profession into disrepute.

"To find otherwise would undermine public confidence in the profession and fail to uphold proper standards of conduct and behaviour.”

Having found serious professional misconduct, the Committee then considered the most appropriate sanction for Mr Murray.

In terms of aggravating factors, it found that Mr Murray’s conviction involved recklessness and the risk of injury to a human being.

In mitigation, it considered that: there was no risk or actual harm to an animal; that no concerns had been raised about his competence or the quality of his practice; his relative youth at the time of the incident; the fact he had both pleaded guilty to the charge and had disclosed the conviction to the RCVS at the first opportunity; his cooperation with the regulatory process and the fact that he had shown insight and made efforts to remediate the past offending and avoid repetition of the offending behaviour.

The Committee also considered a positive testimonial from the practice where he was employed which attested to his integrity, as well as from a mental health prison chaplain who had supported him during his time in custody and with whom he continued to work to support other young offenders on their release from custody.

Taking all the facts and circumstances into consideration, the Committee decided that it would be most appropriate to take no further action against Mr Murray.

Hilary added: “This was not a case involving any risk to animals.

"The risk of repetition of the offence is minimal.

"The Committee therefore considered the demands of the public interest, namely the need to uphold proper standards of conduct and behaviour and to maintain confidence in the profession and in the regulatory process.

"The Committee considered that in light of the significant insight and remediation shown, and the minimal risk of repeating the behaviour which led to the conviction, the Committee was not satisfied that the public interest required a sanction to protect it.

"The Committee decided that the demands of the public interest were adequately marked and served by the finding already made that the conviction rendered the respondent unfit to practise.”

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