An Intent to Deceive
If you are reading this page the chances are you will have read the various blog posts over the last few years about my little adventure with the health regulator in the UK that oversees the health professions – the Health and Care Professions Council. This little drama with the authorities has been played out in in several courts in London and Lancashire and has unravelled into quite an extraordinary story. You will be aware that the legal proceedings are now complete and only the verdict remains to be delivered – sometime in the next few weeks.
Being a defendant in a criminal trial will not, thankfully, be an experience enjoyed by many podiatrists during their career. Unfortunately, it is something I am familiar with even before the HCPC came along. What most of you will not know is that I was once a defendant in another criminal case. Twenty years ago in Scotland, I was on trial in the High Court with a co-accused – a respected solicitor – facing charges of the utmost gravity in a trail that lasted over three months. On that occasion, both of us were acquitted of all charges when the prosecution case collapsed, but the experience was not without significant consequences, as by then I had already lost my practice, home and marriage. Proving one’s innocence comes at cost.
It was an interesting time and by necessity, it turned my career in a very different direction.
Two decades later during another criminal prosecution for an altogether minor offence with the regulator and I find myself back in the land of another establishment farce and one with extremely serious consequences for all parties concerned.
I had never intended to write a book about podiatry, at least not at this stage of my life, but as events have unfolded over the last couple of years, I realised that I had a responsibility to chronicle the experience, if for no other reason than to provide an accurate account of what happened. In doing so, it has provided me with a context for the earlier trial that was completely unexpected.
An ‘Intent to Deceive’ will be published on 15 November 2016 and tells the story of both cases and the background to them. Most of the book has been written – there are only a couple of short chapters left to do, before I revise it over the summer and send it off to the lawyers….
However, I am in some difficulty presently and I would like to ask you for some help.
Most of you will know that I ceased practice two years ago when the HCPC published their inaccurate and damaging press release. I had no way of knowing that two and a half years later, we would still be in court, fighting to clear my name. It has been a long and drawn out affair – and an expensive one.
The prosecution will bear the brunt of the costs – their QC and solicitor fees will likely be in excess of half a million pounds by now, but of course, that will be met from registrant funds – i.e. your money.
My outlay is a little less with legal costs just over £59,000 and loss of earnings now at £305,000. I didn’t have a particularly great starting point at the beginning of the case, which is one of the reasons I was self-represented initially, but as matters have progressed and I was forced to engage legal agents, the financial outlook not only darkened but disappeared completely and I find myself yet again in another invidious and acutely embarrassing position.
Two decades ago, my legal costs were covered by legal aid, which was incredibly helpful as my advocate was Alex Prentice, who is now the Principle Crown Counsel under the Lord Advocate in Scotland. Alex’s firm went on to represent Abdel Basset Al Megrahi at the Lockerbie Trial and his fees to represent me would probably have exceeded that of the HCPC’s legal bill – he is one of the best criminal lawyers in the UK.
In my current case, legal aid fees are restricted to £3,200 in total – and this is the amount I may be awarded in the event of an acquittal under the new rules imposed four years ago by government. As mentioned previously, proving one’s innocence is an expensive business.
Hopefully sales from the book will help restore some finances in the coming years and there is always the prospect of compensation, depending on the judgement and narrative delivered by the court. But I have to try and get through to the book launch later this year and this is what I would like to do…
I have made ‘Intent to Deceive’ available now as a pre-order through my website. In addition to the book, purchasers will also receive copies of my two CDs –one an instrumental classical guitar collection and the other entitled ‘Lies & Deception’ – a collection of my own, topical songs. The purchase price is £30 however I will need to charge an additional fee for postage for overseas orders nearer publication.
I’m sure most of you will be sick to death of reading my posts on the subject, but I can promise you an enlightening, entertaining and very readable account of one podiatrist’s journey through a curiously rewarding and illuminating career – and some brilliant music to accompany the tale!
If you are minded, you can pre-order here. I would be most grateful.