A dispensing optician who recorded thousands of ‘voyeuristic’ images through a camera hidden in a toilet air freshening unit will be erased from the register.
A General Optical Council fitness to practise committee heard how Bolton practitioner, Martin Clough, had used a camera installed in the toilets of his practice to record customers and staff for almost a year.
The committee found his fitness to practise was impaired by virtue of convictions for six counts of voyeurism.
Committee chair, Ian Crookall, highlighted that Mr Clough’s conduct was a serious departure from professional standards.
“The registrant has abused the trust placed in him as a registered dispensing optician by violating the privacy of staff and patients in the most intrusive way over a prolonged period of time,” Mr Crookall emphasised.
Mr Clough owned Clough Opticians on Newport St, where the voyeurism offences were committed.
Police evidence referred to in the decision included witness statements by a digital forensic analyst who reported that the hidden camera contained 2071 images and four videos of a ‘voyeuristic nature.’
A further 30,356 images and 28 videos of the rest room, changing room and other areas of the practice were stored on Mr Clough’s computer.
In police interviews, Mr Clough admitted placing the camera in the air freshener unit, but claimed he had done so to detect theft of frames and cash from his practice.
He pleaded guilty to six offences of voyeurism and was sentenced to a custodial sentence of 28 months.
Mr Crookall emphasised that Mr Clough’s behaviour had caused serious harm to individuals and involved offences of a sexual nature.
“The registrant’s conduct was deplorable and fundamentally incompatible with continued registration,” he concluded.
Mr Clough is suspended from the register and has until 17 April to appeal his erasure. If no appeal is lodged by this date, he will be permanently erased from the register.