The RCVS Disciplinary Committee has agreed to adjourn multiple charges against a Hampshire-based veterinary surgeon who first registered in 1950, following his undertakings firstly to request removal from the RCVS Register and secondly never apply to be restored to it.

At yesterday's hearing, William Bamber Cartmell of Wickham, near Fareham, was due to face seven heads of charge containing "serious allegations" relating to his provision of expert evidence in a case involving the RSPCA; his certification, following clinical examination, of the health of two horses for a prospective purchaser; and his clinical competence during treatment of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel called Milly.

However, before the Committee considered any of the facts behind these charges - all of which Mr Cartmell denied - the College submitted an application suggesting that they should be adjourned, providing that Mr Cartmell agreed to the three undertakings (the third being not to act as an expert witness in litigation in future). The College also suggested that, should Mr Cartmell subsequently apply to be restored to the Register, the Committee should resume its consideration of the charges, along with his breach of the undertakings.

The Committee was advised that none of the complainants in the case - which could have exceeded four weeks and incurred considerable costs - dissented from the proposed course of action. It also heard that Mr Cartmell had recently retired from his practice, which was now closed and his clients dispersed to other practices. In over 60 years of practising, there had been no adverse disciplinary findings against him.

Speaking on behalf of the Disciplinary Committee, its Chairman, Professor Peter Lees, said: "Having carefully considered the matters put before us, we have concluded that it would not be in the public interest to refuse the College's application and proceed with this case.

"We are satisfied that the undertakings offered by the Respondent protect the welfare of animals and uphold the reputation of the profession. [These undertakings also] go beyond any sanction that this Committee could impose at the conclusion of a contested hearing where any of the heads of charge were found proven.

"We do not consider that it would be proportionate for either party to incur the substantial costs of a contested hearing. We have also paid particular regard to the age of the Respondent and to his length of service without any adverse findings having been made against him."

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