Matthew John Makepeace has been struck off by the RCVS Disciplinary Committee after a conviction for assaulting his ex-partner.

Mr Makepeace faced five charges.

The first charge was that in 2022 Mr Makepeace was convicted at Scarborough Magistrates Court of assaulting by beating his ex-partner.

He was sentenced to a community order and a curfew order and was ordered to pay a £95 surcharge and £85 in costs.

It was alleged that the conviction rendered him unfit to practise as a veterinary surgeon.

The second was that in August 2022, Mr Makepeace submitted a character reference which purported to have been written by his ex-partner saying that they "still live happily together", when this was untrue. It was also alleged that the reference purported to have been signed by Mr Makepeace's ex-partner when he knew that was not the case.

The third charge alleged that Mr Makepeace had sent WhatsApp messages to his ex-partner which were offensive, insulting, abusive, threatening and/or intimidating.

The fourth charge  was that was a repetition of the second. 

The fifth and final charge was that in relation to charges 2 and 4, that Mr Makepeace’s conduct was misleading and/or dishonest; and that it is alleged that in relation to charges 2,3,4 and/or 5, whether individually or in any combination, that Mr Makepeace was guilty of disgraceful conduct in a professional respect.

The first charge was proven by virtue of a certified copy of the memorandum of an entry in the Magistrates’ Court register.

Mr Makepeace also admitted the facts of all the other charges, meaning they were found proven by admission.

In terms of the conviction, the Committee assessed the incident to be serious – the assault was prolonged, involved strangulation and biting which led to physical injuries, and involved a pursuit.

This was found by the Committee to bring the reputation of the profession into disrepute.

The Committee therefore found that the conviction rendered Mr Makepeace unfit to practise.

With regard to the remaining charges, the Committee found Mr Makepeace’s behaviour serious, saying that it showed a blatant and wilful disregard of the role of the RCVS and the systems that regulate the veterinary profession, and that his actions were intended to dishonestly subvert that process.

The Committee considered that his actions fell sufficiently below the standards expected in terms of honesty and integrity, as well as in terms of the behaviour expected of a registered professional.

All this constituted disgraceful conduct in a professional respect.

When making a decision on the appropriate sanction, the Committee took into account evidence from Mr Makepeace, two character witnesses, and a document bundle including evidence of training, continuing professional development (CPD) and other testimonials.

Aggravating factors taken into account were:

  • that Mr Makepeace’s actions in relation to the assault were premeditated, in that he pursued his ex-partner;
  • that there was an increased position of trust between partners and co-habitants, and that his ex-partner was entitled to trust him;
  • that his conduct in relation to the assault was exacerbated by alcohol consumption;
  • that, in relation to the WhatsApp messages there was a course of coercive, intimidating, and abusive behaviour over a significant period, despite Mr Makepeace’s abstention from alcohol at that time and the prior completion of an anger management course and therapy;
  • that there was a blatant and wilful disregard of the role of the RCVS and the systems that regulate the profession in that his actions in charges 2, 4, and 5 were intended to subvert that process and were dishonest towards the RCVS;
  • that his dishonesty towards his regulator was for personal gain in order to present himself in a more favourable light before his regulator;
  • and that he demonstrated inadequate insight into his actions.

Mitigating factors taken into account were that Mr Makepeace made full admissions at the start of the hearing; he expressed remorse; was shown to be of previous good character; that there had been a significant lapse of time since his conviction; he had made subsequent efforts to avoid repetition of the behaviour which led to the conviction; the financial impact upon Mr Makepeace if he was prevented from being able to practise; and the testimonials.

Neil Slater, Chair of the Disciplinary Committee and speaking on its behalf, said: “The Committee’s view was that the demands of the public interest in this case were high, and in light of all of the circumstances, removal from the register was the only means of upholding the wider public interest, which includes the need to uphold proper standards of conduct and performance, and to maintain confidence in the profession and its regulation.

“The Committee therefore decided to direct that the respondent should be removed from the Register.

"In coming to this decision, the Committee carefully applied the principle of proportionality and took into account the impact of such a sanction on the respondent’s ability to practise his profession, as well as the financial impact upon him, taking into account his evidence in this regard.

“However, the Committee determined that the need to uphold the wider public interest outweighed the respondent’s interests in this respect.

"In light of the gravity of the conduct, and all of the factors taken into account, any lesser sanction would lack deterrent effect and would undermine public confidence in the profession and the regulatory process.

"Removal was the only appropriate and proportionate sanction.” 

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