A veterinary surgeon who committed theft and common assault will not be removed from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) register.

Leeds-based vet Gary Samuel had been sentenced by Cardiff Magistrates’ Court to concurrent terms of 28 days’ imprisonment for theft and common assault, as well as 12 weeks’ imprisonment for the public order offence, all suspended for 12 months.

He had also been ordered to carry out 140 hours’ unpaid work and pay compensation of £75 and costs of £625. The charges related to an incident involving Dr Samuel and his neighbour, described by the Privy Council as “a spontaneous outburst in the course of an angry quarrel between neighbours”.

Following a successful appeal to the Privy Council on March 26, the RCVS announced on April 16 that Dr Samuel will not be removed from the register.  

The DC had agreed the sanction following a hearing in February 2013, at which it decided Dr Samuel’s conviction for theft, common assault and a public order offence at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court in November made him unfit to practise veterinary surgery.

However, the Privy Council felt the Disciplinary Committee did not take mitigating circumstances into account, including whether the attack by Dr Samuel on his neighbour had been provoked by racial abuse. 

Lord Toulson, delivering the Privy Council’s judgement, said: “It is apparent from the reasons given by the committee, both on the question of fitness to practise and on the question of sanction, that it was considerably influenced by the fact the magistrates imposed a suspended prison sentence.

“Dr Samuel’s conduct was thoroughly reprehensible, but the board does not consider its gravity was such that it would be in the interests of the public now to remit the case to the committee.” 

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