A “good doctor” who has fought to clear his name since being accused of assaulting a patient four years ago will be able to return to work after a top judge overturned his suspension.
Dr Abiodun Bale was training to be a GP at the Hyndburn Medical Practice, in Accrington, when the allegations were first made in 2013.
The 45-year-old was found guilty of assaulting a female patient at Burnley Crown Court the following year, but was later cleared of any wrongdoing following an appeal.
However, he was suspended from practice for nine months by a Medical Practitioners’ Tribunal Service (MPTS) panel in July last year.
The panel concluded he had behaved inappropriately towards the woman and to a second female patient, and also found he lied during his trial.
Although the Lagos-trained doctor is no longer pursuing a career as a GP, the suspension prevented him from working in obstetrics and gynaecology – a field in which he is a specialist. But his temporary ban has now been lifted by a High Court judge, who said the tribunal was wrong to find he had been dishonest.
Mr Justice Collins told the court there had never been any criticism of Dr Bale’s skills as a doctor and that it would be wrong to take any further action against him.The judge added: “I should say there is no indication that, before or since these events, he has behaved in any way which would be contrary to good practice as a doctor and there is no suggestion he is anything other than a competent practitioner.”
The panel found Dr Bale, who at the time lived in Moston, Manchester, behaved inappropriately to the patient who accused him of assault in March 2013 by raising his voice, trying to prevent her from leaving a consultation and taking hold of her forearm.
It concluded that, by denying he had taken hold of her arm, he had been dishonest before the crown court and “brought the profession into disrepute.”
But, allowing his appeal and lifting his suspension, Mr Justice Collins ruled the panel was wrong to conclude his denial was “tantamount to perjury”.
He said: “The tribunal was indeed wrong to find that what he had done was dishonest, or that he had committed perjury before the criminal courts.”
The judge added: “In the circumstances of this case, having regard in particular to the suspension he has already served, it would be wrong to do other than take no action against him.”