Surgeon escapes prison after colleagues sign last-gasp letter of support
PUBLISHED: 15:56 08 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:01 09 March 2019
A surgeon whose dangerous driving left a midwife with long-lasting injuries has escaped prison after 38 of his colleagues wrote a last-gasp letter to the court.
Sentencing Harald Geogloman to 20 months in jail, suspended for two years, Judge Stephen Holt said it was a “tragedy” to see the Queen Elizabeth Hospital doctor in the dock.
Mr Geogloman, of Peregrine Mews, was found guilty in February of causing serious injury by dangerous driving after crashing into Joy Richardson, a midwife at the QEH, on the A148 on Sunday, January 15 in 2017.
On Friday, March 8, the court heard how colleagues and friends of the 54-year-old surgeon had written to the judge praising Mr Geogloman’s character.
Nearly 40 colleagues signed one letter in support of the surgeon, submitted to the court alongside letters from colleagues and friends.
It also emerged he is the chairman of the senior medical staff committee at the QEH and is the foundation programme director in charge of training 60 junior doctors.
Judge Holt, sentencing, said he suspected Mr Geogloman reverted to driving as if he still lived in his native Germany.
He said: “Everything the court knows about you would indicate that you would be the last person to drive on the wrong side of the road.
“I believe that you do genuinely believe you were not driving on the wrong side of the road. I don’t think you are lying, I think you are wrong, but I don’t think it is a genuine false claim.”
He added: “Your role in our society is very important. You hold a very important job at the QEH. You have an important leadership role, you lead the consultant team and are responsible for 60 trainees passing on your skills.
“It took just under an hour to read the letters and it is rare to see so many people write good things about somebody standing in the dock and the fact you are in the dock is a tragedy.”
He highlighted Geogloman’s previous good character, his public role and the “very unusual facts of this case”.
Mr Geogloman was also disqualified from driving for two years and will have to take an extended driving test before being able to drive again.