21 Aug 2012

Tomlinson pathologist Patel ‘deficient and dishonest’

A GMC displinary panel finds former Home Office pathologist Dr Freddy Patel deficient, misleading and dishonest in the case of Ian Tomlinson, who died at the G20 demonstration in 2009.

PC Simon Harwood

Dr Patel is now facing punishment by the council over the death of Tomlinson, who died at the G20 demonstration after being struck with a police baton and pushed to the ground by PC Simon Harwood (pictured left).

It is the fifth case in two years in which the GMC has ruled against the 63-year-old pathologist and questioned his fitness to practise. Dr Patel has up until now escaped being struck off and instead been set targets to improve his perfomance.

Today’s tribunal said it was concerned that Dr Patel has, as it put it, “a lack of insight” into his own professional standards.

It notes that there is no evidence that he recognises any contrary view to his finding on the cause of death to Mr Tomlinson, even when robustly challenged by three other pathologists.

Contradicted view

Dr Patel, who performed the first post-mortem on Mr Tomlinson, concluded that he died from a heart attack. Others later found the cause of death to have been internal bleeding brought on possibly by the assault by the police officer.

PC Harwood was found not guilty of manslaughter at a subsequent trial.

Today the tribunal found Dr Patel was a risk to patients, had brought the profession into disrepute, was dishonest, and that it could not be confident that his integrity could be relied upon. The panel will now decide on punishment.

The judgement comes on the day the Metropolitan Police announced there would be a four-week misconduct hearing for PC Simon Harwood to be held in public, beginning on 17 September.

It is the first time the Met has allowed access to an officer’s disciplinary case and will be the first time a full judgement will be published.