The General Optical Council (GOC) has suspended Alexander Pennington, an optometrist based in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, from its register for a period of three months.
A GOC fitness to practise committee found Mr Pennington’s fitness to practise had been ‘impaired by reason of convictions for a public order offence and for offences contrary to the Environmental Protection Act 1990.’
The committee also found Mr Pennington’s fitness to practise was ‘impaired by reason of misconduct in respect of his dishonest non-disclosure of the convictions at renewal of his GOC registration in 2014 and 2015.’
Speaking about the decision, committee chair, Rachel O’Connell said: “The committee acknowledged that the convictions had no relation to the registrant’s clinical practice. However, the committee considered that convictions of this nature did damage public confidence in the profession.
“Taking account the registrant’s evidence as a whole, the committee considered the risk of future dishonesty to be low. However, the committee was satisfied that these instances of dishonest conduct required a finding of impairment to be made so as to maintain confidence in the profession and to declare and uphold proper standards of conduct and behaviour.”
Ms O’Connell added: “In considering the appropriate sanction, the committee took into account that the convictions and subsequent dishonesty were out of character, that there has been no repetition or previous conduct of a similar nature and that the registrant has developed significant insight. He appreciates the damage that this type of conduct causes to the profession.”
OT understands that Mr Pennington will begin his three-month suspension period on 2 February 2017, if he does lodge an appeal before this date.