Disciplinary Committee strikes off vet for dishonesty regarding theft conviction

12 January 2018

The RCVS Disciplinary Committee has directed that a veterinary surgeon be removed from the Register after he was convicted of petty theft in the USA and was subsequently dishonest with a Notary Public in California and the College about this conviction.

The hearing for Dr Gerhard Schulze Allen concluded on Tuesday 9 January 2018 when the Disciplinary Committee directed that the Registrar remove his name from the Register after he was found guilty of four charges relating to a criminal conviction and subsequent dishonesty and false representations.

The first charge related to the original criminal conviction in the County of San Bernardino in California dating from September 2013 where Dr Schulze Allen plead guilty to petty theft for which he was fined US $435 and ordered to pay a fee of US $35.

The second charge related to the fact that, on or around 3 December 2013 in a written application for restoration to the Register, Dr Schulze Allen was dishonest in representing that he did not have any cautions or criminal convictions.

The third charge related to the fact that on or around 4 December 2013 in a sworn affidavit before a Notary Public in Riverside, California, he dishonestly and falsely represented that he had, at no time, been convicted of a criminal offence in the UK or elsewhere.

The final charge was that, in an email to the RCVS in June 2016, he dishonestly and falsely represented that he had “no criminal record whatsoever”.

Having found Dr Schulze Allen guilty of all four charges the Committee then considered whether the conviction rendered him unfit to practise veterinary surgery and whether the remaining charges amounted to disgraceful conduct in a professional respect.

The Committee noted that the conviction was for a minor matter but had regard to all the evidence before it and considered that as an offence of dishonesty it represented a breach of one of the fundamental tenets of the profession. It further considered that Dr Schulze Allen’s dishonesty toward the College and his completing a legal document which he knew would be relied upon by the College was conduct that fell far short of the standard expected of a member of the profession.

With regard to the final charge, the Committee considered this a “clear attempt to deliberately misrepresent the fact that he had a conviction for a criminal offence.” The Committee considered that Dr Schulze Allen’s conduct had been aggravated by the fact that it was protracted and repeated over a period of time.

Ultimately the Committee considered that the conviction rendered Dr Schulze Allen unfit to practise veterinary surgery and the remaining charges amounted to disgraceful conduct in a professional respect.

Ian Green, chairing the Committee and speaking on its behalf, said: “His conduct represented a blatant disregard of the role of the RCVS and the systems that regulate the veterinary profession. The Committee also remained particularly concerned at Dr Schulze Allen’s very limited insight into his conduct.”

He added: “In mitigation the Committee noted that this is not a case where harm was caused to any animals or humans. It noted that prior to these matters which are before the Committee that Dr Schulze Allen had an unblemished career and that he had been of good character. In respect of purely personal mitigation the Committee noted that Dr Schulze Allen is the main breadwinner of the family.”

However, the Committee considered that Dr Schulze Allen’s conduct had fallen significantly short of standards expected of a veterinary surgeon.

Ian Green concluded: “The Committee considered that the only appropriate sanction is that of removal from the Register. Such a sanction is required to send a clear message to Dr Schulze Allen and to veterinary surgeons of the unacceptability of being dishonest to the RCVS. Such conduct undermines public confidence in the profession and fails to uphold proper standards of conduct and behaviour.

“Accordingly, the Committee has decided that removal from the Register is appropriate and proportionate in this case. The Committee will direct the Registrar to remove the respondent’s name from the Register forthwith.”

Dr Schulze Allen has 28 days from the date of the decision to appeal the Committee’s decision.

NOTE: This summary is provided to assist in understanding the RCVS Disciplinary Committee’s decision. It does not form part of the reasons for the decision. The Committee’s full findings and decision is the only authoritative document.

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