June 2004

Abuse images doctor ‘dealing with his demons’

Royal Navy doctor, who accessed child porn on the internet while working at Winchester‘s Royal Hampshire County Hospital, was this week allowed to return to work.

But Lt Cdr Duncan Blair, who remains on the Sex Offenders Register, can only practise with the Services and must not have direct contact with children under 16.

The conditions imposed, by a professional conduct committee in London, will last three years, although the 35-year-old will remain on the register until 2008.

Blair, of Coate Drive, Worthy Down, Winchester, and previously of Firs Drive, Southampton, claimed he was “exorcising demons” when he viewed child porn.

He said he had wanted to assess if he had been “damaged” by two incidents in his early teens.

He claimed that, in the first, he had he fled a pervert on a train from Chester to Bangor and that, in the second, he had been fondled by a girl his own age at a family party in Birkenhead.

Blair qualified as a doctor at Sheffield in 1991. He had also worked part-time as a GP at Belle View, Birmingham.

He was arrested in March last year by MoD police, formally cautioned last July for inciting another to distribute indecent photographs of children and placed on the Sex Offenders Register for five years.

Found guilty of serious professional misconduct in December, he was suspended then for six months by the General Medical Council panel.

He admitted accessing child pornography on one occasion in May, 1999, and was traced through the use of hiscredit card.

The committee heard that, at the time, Blair had been working in community paediatrics at RHCH.

He said he had been “sickened and horrified” and “completely disgusted” by what he saw on his computer and had almost immediately shut it down and cancelled his 30-day subscription.

Blair denied that he had stayed on line for 20 to 25 minutes, saying he had signed off immediately after seeing a child and an adult having intercourse.

He said the child pornography was “horrible” and told the committee: “I was dealing with my demons.”.

Panel chairman, Mandie Jane Lavin, said she accepted that, since December, Blair had consulted a psychiatrist and had made “considerable efforts” in his continued medical education and professional development.

“The committee is satisfied you have acquired insight on your past behaviour and you have now in place effective support mechanisms,” she said.

But she added that guidance suggested that no doctor registered as a sex offender should be allowed to practise without restriction.

However, the maximum time for which the panel could impose conditions on his registration because of his “extremely serious” behaviour was only three years.

Blair was told: “Any direct patient access shall be in the context solely of your duties in the Royal Navy and shall be restricted to service personnel only.

“You shall not have direct patient contact with children under the age of 16 and the foregoing conditions may be relaxed only in the event of life-threatening situations in order for you to provide emergency medical intervention.”

Furthermore, Blair was told, he would be obliged to inform the GMC if he left the Royal Navy.

Blair, a married man, is currently stationed at HMS Nelson, Portsmouth.

In May, 2002, he received a Commander-in-Chief’s commendation after being winched from a helicopter onto a pitching trawler in the Bay of Biscay to attend a sick crewman