Arowojolu v General Medical Council [2021] EWHC 2725 (Admin) (13 October 2021)

A doctor erased for inappropriate touching of a female colleague “under the guise of an examination” lose appeal against erasure.

This is an appeal by the Appellant, Dr Olakunle Arowojolu, under s 40 of the Medical Act 1983 (the MA 1983) against the decision of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal (MPT/the Tribunal) on 13 November 2020 to erase his name from the medical register. 

This is the second appeal by Dr Arowojolu against an MPT determination arising out of Ms A’s complaint. In 2019, Knowles J allowed his appeal against the factual determinations made by the MPT in July of that year and remitted the entire matter to the MPT for rehearing. At the remitted hearing in November 2020, the MPT gave the direction for erasure which is challenged in this appeal. 

Two very different versions of what took place were given by Ms A and the Appellant at the Tribunal hearing. However: 

“The GMC’s case is that there is no motive for Ms A to have fabricated these allegations about a doctor she barely knew. She reported what had happened quickly, to a number of different people, both people she knew well, her husband, whom you will hear from tomorrow, and those she did not know her well (sic). They all, those calls and her husband, attest to how distressed she was.”

It was alleged that Appellant inappropriately touched Ms A whilst undertaking an examination of her abdomen.

Ms A reported the matter to the police whilst she was still on shift, the Appellant was arrested by the police on the morning of 22 July 2013 and was charged with sexual assault on 16 January 2014.

The Appellant stood trial at Basildon Crown Court in October 2014 before Her Honour Judge Lynch QC and a jury. There was a single count on the indictment alleging the sexual assault of Ms A, contrary to s 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. On 16 October 2014 he was convicted, and subsequently sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.

The Appellant appealed against his conviction, and on 1 April 2015 his conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal on the basis that the conviction was unsafe and ordered a re-trial.  At the Appellant’s first re-trial, the jury could not agree. The Appellant was then re-tried, and this time was acquitted by the jury. The proceedings before the Tribunal followed his acquittal.

The Appellant’s grounds for appeal principally related to the to credibility of Ms A’s as a witness,

Mr Justice Julian Knowles, in dismissing the appeal on all grounds, commented:

All of these were matters for the Tribunal to assess as the fact-finder. Whilst there were a number of strands to the evidence, the issue before the Tribunal was, in many ways, a simple one: had the GMC proved on a balance of probabilities that the Appellant touched Ms A in a sexual manner under the guise of conducting a clinical examination?

“It heard the evidence and gave detailed reasons for concluding that he had. In the absence of any clear error of approach, I cannot properly interfere with its assessment, for the reasons I have given.

 “I cannot say the Tribunal’s conclusions were plainly wrong or so out of tune with the evidence properly read as to be unreasonable. This was a case where a young female had gone into a consultation room with a doctor late at night and within minutes of coming out was in a distressed state and had reported to her husband and other staff that she had been touched inappropriately. I therefore reject Ground 3.”

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