The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Veterinary Nurse Disciplinary Committee has requested that a veterinary nurse be removed from the Register after they were convicted of offences related to indecent images of children.
The individual, referred to throughout the hearing as “A”, was granted anonymity by the Committee to protect their and their family members’ safety, had been convicted in court in March 2022 of three charges related to indecent images of children.
As a result, “A” was sentenced to eight months imprisonment suspended for 24 months, with rehabilitation activities of a maximum 35 days, 12 months mental health treatment, 100 hours unpaid work, 10 years sexual harm prevention order, their name was placed on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years and they were ordered to pay £425 prosecution costs.
At the outset of the Veterinary Nurse Disciplinary Committee hearing, which took place on 25 and 26 October, “A” admitted the convictions and that the conviction rendered “A” unfit to continue to work as a veterinary nurse.
In considering the sanction for the individual, the Committee took into account aggravating factors including that their conviction involved behaviour which increased the risk of harm or injury to human beings, the fact that viewing such images fuelled demand for such exploitative images, and that the conviction related to premeditated sexual misconduct which was sustained or repeated over a period of time.
In mitigation the Committee considered that “A” had taken a number of steps to address the root cause of the offending behaviour, had recognised the seriousness of these offences and had engaged fully with the College throughout the disciplinary process.
Paul Morris, chairing the Committee and speaking on its behalf, said: “The Committee decided that the only appropriate and proportionate response to the respondent’s convictions was a removal order.
Convictions of this kind are fundamentally incompatible with being a registered veterinary nurse.
At this point in time, a removal order is the only sanction capable of satisfying the public interest in safeguarding the reputation of the profession of veterinary nursing and ensuring that public confidence in the profession is maintained.”
The full details of the hearing and the Committee’s decision can be found on the website.