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Cleared: GP accused of impropriety by patient

A doctor who won his appeal against being found to have carried out a sexually motivated examination of a patient has spoken of his relief.

Dr Leo Casey was hugged and embraced by relatives and supporters in the public gallery as the verdict was confirmed.

Speaking afterwards, the Londonderry-based practitioner thanked all those who had supported him after his reputation was fully restored at the High Court in Belfast yesterday.

He said: “I am pleased that Lord Justice Girvan has quashed the decision of the General Medical Council's Fitness to Practice panel of July 2011.

“I would like to thank friends and family, patients, professional colleagues and my legal team for their support during this difficult time for all involved.”

Earlier this year a General Medical Council (GMC) panel imposed a nine-month suspension on Dr Casey over alleged improper conduct six years ago.

But its determination was completely quashed by a High Court judge who identified serious inconsistencies in accounts given by the female complainant.

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Lord Justice Girvan also pointed out that the woman abandoned an earlier version where she made claims about a highly sexualised encounter involving improper handling of her breasts.

He said: “The case made out by the GMC before the panel in the first instance is a case which now lies in tatters.

“The witness, Patient A, having made a number of serious allegations of sexual impropriety withdrew nearly all of them, leaving one allegation relating to the examination of her chest.”

In July the GMC determined during a fitness to practice hearing that Dr Casey took advantage of the woman while carrying out an examination at the Oakleaf Medical Centre in 2005. It found he was sexually motivated in placing his hand inside her bra and placing part of his stethoscope onto her nipples when it was not clinically indicated.

A decision was taken at the time to suspend Dr Casey, rather than strike him off, after taking into account his contribution to the Oakleaf practice and testimonials from those who regard him as “an outstanding doctor”.

His lawyers challenged the determination on the basis that it was wrong to find Patient A to be

a consistent, reliable and credible witness.

Ruling on the appeal, Lord Justice Girvan said: “The internal inconsistencies in her previous version of events, and the complete and unexplained abandonment of serious allegations of sexualised misconduct, should have raised serious concerns which should have been addressed by the panel in its analysis.”

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