RCVS Disciplinary Committee adjourns hearing
The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Disciplinary Committee has adjourned a hearing for a Gloucestershire-based veterinary surgeon after it refused his application to undertake to voluntarily remove himself from the Register and to never apply to be restored.
David Chalkley MRCVS appeared before the Committee on Monday 14 and Wednesday 16 December in respect of four alleged charges against him. These are:
• That between 2011 and 2018 he was dishonest, misleading and had risked undermining government animal testing procedures by claiming to have subjected up to 16 animals to an ICT tuberculosis (TB) test when in fact some of these animals had died prior to the date he was supposed to have conducted the tests and that, furthermore, he had fabricated skin measurements for animals which had died before the date of the supposed test;
• In respect of TB tests conducted at a farm on 5 March 2018 and 23 March 2018, he failed to identify some or all of the animals tested;
• That on or around 23 March 2018 he was dishonest, misleading and had risked undermining testing procedures when he certified he had tested 280 animals to a TB test when he had not subjected them all to the test and that, in fact, between 16 and 127 of the animals had died before 5 March 2018, and that he had also fabricated the recorded measurements for some of those 280 animals;
• That between 2011 and 2018, he received payment of approximately £20,000 for TB tests when, as a result of the conduct set out above, he was not entitled to such payment.
At the outset of the hearing Mr Chalkley made no admissions as to the charges but he had made an application for an adjournment based on undertakings to remove himself from the Register and never to apply to be restored to the Register.
Denied all charges
In addressing the Committee on behalf of Mr Chalkley, his counsel said that Mr Chalkley denied all charges of dishonesty, that there was no evidence of harm to animals as a result of the alleged conduct, that there had been no complaint from the client and that he had repaid all the sums he had received for tuberculin testing on the farm in question.
Furthermore, his counsel submitted that a full hearing would be expensive and time-consuming, and that it would serve no useful purpose as animal welfare and the protection of the public would be served by Mr Chalkley’s proposed undertakings. Counsel on behalf of the RCVS confirmed that the College did not oppose the application and confirmed that the Animal Plant and Health Agency did not object.
Full public hearing
However, the Disciplinary Committee, after careful consideration, concluded that because the case concerned issues of alleged dishonesty in veterinary certification over a prolonged period of time and the importance of public trust in the accuracy and reliability of that process, there was a need to hold a full, public hearing into Mr Chalkley’s alleged conduct.
Ian Arundale, chairing the Committee and speaking on its behalf, said: “The Committee expressed no view as to whether the allegations could be substantiated or not and it recognised that the process of determining the allegations would be burdensome for many, particularly the respondent. It was satisfied, however, that a reasonable and fully informed member of the public would be disturbed to learn that allegations of this kind had not been the subject of a formal determination by the Disciplinary Committee. The respondent’s own interests had to take second place to this important public interest.
“The Committee therefore declined to accept the application to adjourn this inquiry [until an unspecified date] and directed that arrangements should now be considered for the listing of a hearing in this case.”
It is expected that the full hearing will take place in spring 2021.