Welwyn Garden City dentist suspended after allegations of sexual assault and harassment
PUBLISHED: 13:00 16 December 2019 | UPDATED: 12:17 23 December 2019
A Welwyn Garden City dentist has been suspended following allegations of sexual assault and harassment, which a committee said his fellow practitioners would consider "disgraceful".
Pardip Singh Raja Sansi, who previously worked in the town centre, was summoned to appear before a Professional Conduct Committee on November 4 for an inquiry into the charges.
It lasted over three weeks and was held in private, the public report has details redacted, and the General Dental Council declined to disclose more than a summary of the charges.
The sexual assault and harassment allegations were "proved", according to the GDC's published report, following which he was suspended for six months.
However, Mr Sansi can still work during a 28-day appeal period - which expires on December 20 - and if an appeal is lodged before then, he can continue to treat patients until it is resolved.
"The committee finds that the facts that it has found proved amount to misconduct," the report reads.
"The committee considers that the facts are serious, relating as they do to a sexual assault and a course of conduct amounting to harassment.
"[Information redacted] The committee considers that your conduct would be considered disgraceful by your fellow practitioners.
"Your behaviour constitutes a serious departure from the standards reasonably to be expected of a registered dentist."
Kevin Dent QC, representing the GDC, told the committee that Mr Sansi's "lack of insight, remediation and remorse means there is a real risk of repetition of such behaviour".
However, Marios Lambis of Counsel, representing Mr Sansi, disputed any risk of repetition, adding he has reflected deeply on his behaviour and has taken positive steps to ensure it never happens again.
The committee concluded Mr Sansi does not pose a risk to the patients or the wider public, writing in the report: "You have provided evidence of your insight into, and acceptance of your responsibility for, your behaviour.
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"You have also demonstrated some realisation of how your conduct affects the standing and reputation of the profession of which you are a member.
"[Information redacted] The committee does not doubt the sincerity of your reflective statements. You have made genuine attempts to look at your behaviour critically and with candour."
It added the "unique circumstances" in which the misconduct occurred, along with demonstrated remediation, led the committee to conclude it is "highly unlikely" there will be a repeat.
However, Mr Dent told the hearing that the Investigating Committee issued an unpublished warning to Mr Sansi on July 16, 2014, which related to a police caution he was issued with and his failure to immediately inform the GDC.
Mr Dent argued that Mr Sansi's name should be erased from the register because "the seriousness of conduct which he contends is fundamentally incompatible with registration".
But Mr Lambis said that would be disproportionate and fails to consider the public interest of ensuring a good dentist is available to practice.
He also asked the committee to be mindful of his otherwise unblemished record and the devastating impact erasure would have, adding a period of suspension can adequately meet the public interest requirements.
The committee decided to suspend Mr Sansi for six months.
Mr Sansi said: "I acknowledge the GDC's findings and will use this time away from practice to reflect on and address the issues the GDC have raised."
A GDC spokesman, explaining why the hearing was held in private and further details would not be released, said: "The starting point for the GDC is that cases are held in public, this is because it is in the public interest to do so.
"Where a motion to hear a case in private is brought, the reasons for this are weighed against the public interest of hearing a case publicly.
"As you know, in this case the hearing was held in private and that has led to the public determination not including full details.
"What is in that public determination represents the only detail we are able to share."
Herts police were asked for information relating to three separate incidents, and said on two occasions that a man was arrested. Following a common assault arrest a man was given a police caution, while after an arrest on suspicion of sexual assault a man was later released with no further action taken.