Former psychiatrist is struck off register
A FORMER States psychiatrist has been struck off the medical register.
Dr Gregory Lydall was sent to prison for 30 months by the Royal Court after admitting downloading and possessing indecent images of children under the age of 16.
Most of the images were in the lowest category of severity, level one.
There were three of level five, the most severe category, 27 of level four, 11 at level three and 18 at level two.
There were also more than 4,000 ‘pseudo-images’, or computer-created indecent images of children, and many of these were said to be lifelike.
A hearing by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal was convened in Manchester on Monday and sat for three days.
Owing to the nature of some of the issues involved, parts of the hearing were held in private and its published decision contained a number of redactions.
Lydall took part in the process by phone due to the fact that he was in prison in Guernsey and did not have access to a video link.
On behalf of the General Medical Council, James Gelsthorpe said that Lydall’s offences ‘seriously undermine patients’ and the public’s trust and confidence in the medical profession... Any conviction for child sex abuse materials against a registered doctor is a matter of grave concern because it involves such a fundamental breach of the public’s trust in doctors and inevitably brings the profession into disrepute’.
Speaking for Lydall, Alex du Sautoy said that Lydall should not be considered as likely to repeat his previous conduct and that there were no indicators that he might go on to commit more serious offences, including contact offences with children.
He accepted that knowledge of Lydall’s criminal conduct could hamper his treatment of certain patients.
The surest way to give reassurance that he would not pose a risk to the public was for him to show progress over a longer period of time by not committing further offences.
Mr du Sautoy said Lydall accepted that it was likely the tribunal would find his fitness to practise was impaired as a result of his conviction and sentence.
In its findings on Lydall’s fitness to practise, the tribunal noted positive testimonial evidence from colleagues, many of whom were aware of his conviction and some of whom referred to the difficult conversations they had when he told them about his conviction, which added some weight to his level of insight.
In considering the impact on public confidence, it said that people would be shocked if a doctor convicted of sexual offences was not found impaired.
Some of those Lydall would work with could themselves have been victims of sexual abuse.
After the tribunal’s finding that Lydall’s fitness to practise was impaired, Mr Gelsthorpe acknowledged the mitigating factors that Lydall had no previous convictions and was highly thought of in his field, had pleaded guilty and co-operated fully with the police and taken steps to address his offending behaviour.
But the only sanction would be to erase his name from the medical register.
Mr du Sautoy said the tribunal might conclude that Lydall would be a great loss to the profession if he was not allowed to practise again, which would be the effect of erasure, and he also cited the deep remorse Lydall felt and how he was making positive steps to help prevent him reoffending.
Mr du Sautoy said that a suspension would allow him to return to practise in future if appropriate conditions were imposed.
In deciding to erase Lydall from the register, the tribunal cited the time period covered by his offending, which started in at least 2005, the serious nature of some of the images, and his use of sophisticated IT methods to conceal his behaviour, and the fact that he had not sought help before he was caught and arrested.
The tribunal also imposed an immediate suspension to cover the 28-day appeal period.