August 2017

Vet struck off for possessing indecent images

A vet has been struck off after being convicted in a criminal court of possessing indecent images of children and an extreme pornographic image involving an animal and a female.

The RCVS disciplinary committee (DC) ruled Glamorgan-based vet Carlos Egido Cortes’ conviction “rendered the respondent unfit to practise veterinary surgery”.

Mr Cortes had pleaded guilty to possessing four indecent online images of children and the animal pornography in January 2017 at Cardiff Crown Court.

DC referral

In February 2017, Mr Cortes was sentenced to six months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with a requirement to complete unpaid work and rehabilitation activity, and a victim surcharge. Following Mr Cortes’ conviction, the matters were referred to the RCVS and Mr Cortes was subsequently referred to the DC.

Mr Cortes did not attend the DC hearing and was not represented. The DC, being satisfied Mr Cortes had been served with the Notice of Inquiry, and having considered and taken into account a number of separate factors, decided it would be in the interests of justice to proceed with the hearing in his absence.

‘Disgraceful’

The committee considered whether Mr Cortes’ convictions rendered him unfit to practise as a veterinary surgeon. Chitra Karve, chairing the committee and speaking on its behalf, said: “The committee has reached the conclusion the respondent’s possession of this material, which has led to his convictions, was so reprehensible as to merit the description disgraceful.

“It considers that by possessing this material, the respondent has brought disgrace on the profession and will have undermined confidence in it.

“It therefore finds that the convictions have rendered the respondent unfit to practise veterinary surgery.”

Only option

In considering the sanction, the committee decided removing Mr Cortes from the register of veterinary surgeons was the only available option.

Ms Karve added: “The committee has determined the respondent’s behaviour is fundamentally incompatible with being a member of the veterinary profession. It therefore directs the registrar to remove the respondent’s name… from the register of veterinary surgeons.”

Mr Cortes now has 28 days from the decision being made to challenge the DC’s decision.

The DC’s full decision and findings is the only authoritative document, and can be found on the RCVS’ website.

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