A family doctor from Scotland who stalked his former lover online after the breakdown of their 12-year relationship is facing a ban from the profession.
Dr Barry Rodgers, 53, spied on his ex-partner following their break-up in March 2011, keeping a record of almost all her internet activity.
The medic, who was working in Carlisle, accessed GP Hannah Judson’s emails, phone and credit card bills and photos using passwords she had given him during their relationship.
Rodgers was arrested in Scotland after Dr Judson became suspicious in July 2011 and police found a cache of personal information belonging to Dr Judson, her friends and her family on Rodgers’ computer.
Experts also discovered photographs of Dr Judson at various events.
He admitted four counts of unauthorised access to computer material and was given a six-month suspended sentence at Carlisle Crown Court in January last year.
On appeal, Rogers, of Kirkton Avenue, Bathgate, West Lothian, claimed he should not have been given the six-month term, which he feared would ruin his NHS career.
But Lord Justice Pitchford, Mr Justice Sweeney and Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC rejected the appeal.
He is now facing fitness to practise proceedings at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester.
The medic is not present or represented at the hearing, but in written correspondence with the General Medical Council said his case was a domestic matter and ‘has nothing to do with patients, hospitals, data, the NHS, or anything of the sort.’
He said that when he accessed the email accounts after the acrimonious breakup of the relationship he found documents of a ‘defamatory and slanderous nature’ and that he had a basic human right to protect himself.
But the panel, chaired by Dr Linda Buchanan, found his fitness to practise impaired by his conviction and he could now face a ban from the profession.
Dr Buchanan said: ‘The panel considers that Dr Rodgers’s convictions in the Crown Court were extremely serious.
‘His accessing of email accounts when he was not authorised to do so invaded the privacy of the account holders and amounted to a breach of trust.
‘These offences were repeated and were carried out over a period of four months.
‘The panel is satisfied that, when viewed in their entirety, Dr Rodgers’s convictions reflect behaviour that fell far below the proper standards of conduct and behaviour expected of a doctor.
‘They amount to significant departures from the standards of integrity required of doctors as set out in Good Medical Practice [GMC guidelines].
She added: ‘Although the panel accepts that Dr Rodgers’s convictions arose in particular domestic circumstances which mean that the risk of a repetition is likely to be low, it does not consider that it has received adequate evidence to indicate that Dr Rodgers has developed sufficient insight into the impact of the actions which led to his convictions.
‘Further, the panel considers that the seriousness of Dr Rodgers’s convictions undermines the confidence that the public is entitled to place in the medical profession and that a finding of impairment is necessary in the wider public interest.
‘The panel has therefore determined that Dr Rodgers’s fitness to practise is currently impaired by reason of his convictions.’
The hearing continues.