Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons last week directed that the name of a man who had been illegally
practising as a veterinary surgeon in the North West of England be removed from
the RCVS Register, having found him guilty of fraudulent registration.
March 2008, Russell Lewis Oakes had been charged with fraudulent entry onto the
Register of Veterinary Surgeons, on the basis that he had (either (A)
knowingly, or (B) unknowingly) submitted a fake degree certificate and letter
of 'good standing' from Murdoch University, Australia. Mr Oakes agreed that the
hearing could proceed in his absence provided the Committee confined itself to
consideration of charge B alone.
hearing commenced on 18 April 2008, but the Committee decided to adjourn, as Mr
Oakes was also subject to a police investigation which required that the
hearing be held in private. The Committee felt that it was in the public
interest for an open hearing to take place in respect of both charges at a
later date. Mr Oakes' bail conditions prevented him from practising as a
veterinary surgeon at this time.
16 October 2009, Mr Oakes was convicted at Liverpool Crown Court, on a guilty
plea, of a substantial number of offences, including those under consideration
by the Committee: he was sentenced on 11 January 2010 to two years in prison.
RCVS Disciplinary Committee's hearing resumed and concluded on 5 February 2010.
Mr Oakes was not present.
Committee was provided with evidence from RCVS staff regarding the registration
process, and received statutory declarations from representatives at Murdoch University. The latter confirmed that
signatures on the certificate submitted by Mr Oakes were fake and that there
had never been a student with his name at the University. Furthermore, a letter
purporting to be one of support from Professor Edwards of Murdoch University
contained text he would not have written and was signed with a false signature.
Committee was also provided with evidence from equine veterinary surgeon Seamus
Miller, who had become suspicious of Mr Oakes' qualifications and membership of
the College. He outlined incidents which had cast doubt on Mr Oakes'
competence. Mr Miller's complaint had initiated enquires which led to the
charges against Mr Oakes by the College, and the Committee recorded its
commendation of Mr Miller, and his colleagues.
found that Mr Oakes knowingly submitted fraudulent registration documents, the
Committee was bound, under Sections 14 and 16 of the Veterinary Surgeons Act
1966, and paragraph 17 of the 2004 Rules, to direct that his name be removed
from the Register.
Bruce, Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee, said: "Even if it retained
any discretion by virtue of Section 16 of the Act in respect of sanction, the
Committee would have had no hesitation in directing Mr Oakes' name to be
removed from the Register in this case. This was a deliberate and dishonest
offence by a man without the necessary qualifications to practise as a
veterinary surgeon, and it had the effect of exposing members of the public to
his fraud, and their animals to harm."
College has revised its registration procedures in the light of this case, and
now requests that all registrants produce original copies of certificates and
letters of 'good standing' at the registration ceremony.
PS: Whilst you're here, take a moment to see our latest job opportunities for vets.
To be fair on Lizzie, any errors in a news story are mine. It's just that RCVS press releases are without a doubt (and by a very considerable margin) the best written in the veterinary profession. I confess that makes me a little lazy, and I often republish RCVS news verbatim without checking as closely as I should.
Don't worry, Lizzie. You are not the only one. I see 'original copy' in many adverts for jobs, especially out here, but it has always made me wonder a bit.
Under the VSA we have to treat all cases in the same way with a public hearing. Lizzie
Why was he not removed instantly?Members deserve a hearing before being removed but he should never have been on the register to start with. I do not see why he should have had the chance of a hearing.
Good point! Sorry about that... but hopefully people will understand that I mean an original...
Just wondering about that last sentence. Can you have an 'original copy'?
Publishing Editor: Arlo Guthrie
Clinical Editor: Alasdair Hotston Moore MA VetMB CertSAC CertVR CertSAS FRCVS
Facebook | Linkedin | Instagram | Twitter
Learn more about advertising on VetSurgeon.org
VetSurgeon Jobs is the place to advertise and find permanent and locum jobs for veterinary surgeons in England | Scotland | Wales | Ireland and Worldwide. Follow VS Jobs on Facebook | Linkedin | Twitter
veterinary-practice.com | improveinternational.com |isvps.org | officialvet.com | improve-ov.com