G20 pathologist Freddy Patel 'not fit to practise'
- 21 August 2012
- From the section UK
The pathologist who conducted the first post-mortem tests on a man who died in 2009 G20 protests in London is not fit to practise, a tribunal has ruled.
Dr Freddy Patel wrongly said Ian Tomlinson died from heart problems.
The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service said his work was "deficient" and will now decide upon sanctions.
Pc Simon Harwood, who had pushed Mr Tomlinson to the ground but was cleared of manslaughter, now faces Met Police disciplinary proceedings in September.
Dr Patel's conclusion that Mr Tomlinson died of a cardiac arrest was questioned when a recording emerged showing him being pushed and struck with a baton by Pc Harwood.
Further medical reports suggested he had actually died from an injury to his liver that caused internal bleeding and then cardiac arrest.
Reacting to the ruling, Mr Tomlinson's widow, Julia, said Dr Patel's "incompetence" had given the family "an uphill battle for justice from the start".
"He misled everyone saying that Ian had died of a heart attack when in fact he had died of internal bleeding.
"It's good that people can see some of the things we have been up against... I would like to know why with all the good pathologists there are he was selected to do the first post mortem," she said.
An inquest jury found that Mr Tomlinson had been unlawfully killed but Pc Harwood was cleared of killing him at a subsequent crown court trial.
The tribunal said Dr Patel, who is currently suspended, did not change his view despite the findings from other pathologists and had displayed a closed mind-set.
It said had "brought the profession into disrepute", that his integrity could not be relied upon and that he had breached one of the "fundamental tenets of the profession" through his dishonesty.
Panel chairman Rev Robert Lloyd-Richards said: "It is clearly in the interest of the general public that they should be able to have confidence in the coronial system and this confidence has been undermined by your failures in these cases.
"Having considered everything before it the panel has determined that your fitness to practise... is impaired by reason of misconduct and deficient professional performance in the case of Mr Tomlinson."
Last year, Dr Patel was given a four-month ban for dishonesty and omitting key findings after examining the body of a murder victim who he said had died from natural causes.
He has also served a three-month suspension for failings in other cases and is no longer on the official register of approved forensic pathologists.
Meanwhile, Scotland Yard has said that Pc Harwood's gross misconduct hearing will take place in front of a panel of three people including a senior officer and a lay person.
It is expected to last up to four weeks.
It comes after the Independent Police Complaints Commission ordered that Pc Harwood should face the internal hearing in public.