Great Yarmouth optometrist Alexander Pennington suspended for failing to disclose convictions

Library photo of an opticians. Photo: Library/Gregg Brown

Library photo of an opticians. Photo: Library/Gregg Brown - Credit: Gregg Brown

An optometrist has been suspended from practice for failing to disclose convictions.

Alexander Pennington from Great Yarmouth has been banned from practice for three months after he did not tell his professional regulator of the convictions.

The General Optical Council (GOC), the UK regulator for optometrists and dispensing opticians, found his fitness to practise impaired by reason of convictions for a violent public order offence and disregard of an abatement order relating to the environment.

A report presented to the committee stated: 'The registrant has admitted dishonesty in failing to inform the GOC of criminal convictions. He had failed to do so on two separate occasions while completing retention forms.

'In his oral evidence, he acknowledged that he knew that the convictions should have been disclosed on these forms but he was fearful of the consequences of disclosure.'

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The report continued: 'He told the committee that he bitterly regretted his dishonesty and would not under any circumstances behave in a similar fashion again.'

He also told the committee that he was completely committed to the profession and would never do anything in future to bring it into disrepute.

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The committee, chaired by Rachel O'Connell, said: 'The committee acknowledged that the convictions had no relation to the registrant's clinical practice, however it considered that convictions of this nature did damage public confidence in the profession.

'Taking account of the registrant's evidence as a whole, the committee considered the risk of future dishonesty to be low. However, the committee was satisfied that these instances of dishonest conduct required a finding of impairment to be made so as to maintain confidence in the profession and to declare and uphold proper standards of conduct and behaviour.

'In considering the appropriate sanction the committee took into account that the convictions and subsequent dishonesty were out of character, that there has been no repetition or previous conduct of a similar nature and that the registrant has developed significant insight. He appreciates the damage that this type of conduct causes to the profession'

Mr Pennington will begin his three month suspension period on February 2, 2017 if an appeal is not lodged before this date.

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