August 2007

Porn doctor struck off register

A doctor who was exposed as a paedophile has been struck off the medical register.

Craig Morton, from Dundee, had been suspended in 2005, after he admitted downloading pornographic images of young boys.

The General Medical Council (GMC) said the 27-year-old’s conviction was “incompatible with his continuing to be registered as a medical practitioner”.

Unless he appeals, his name will be erased from the register after 28 days.

The decision was taken at a review of Morton’s case by the GMC’s Fitness to Practise Panel in Manchester.

‘Public confidence’

Michael Williams, counsel for the GMC, said: “Any sanction must be proportionate and its purpose is not to be punitive, but to protect members of the public and the public interest.

“The public interest includes amongst other things, protection of patients, maintenance of public confidence in the profession and declaring and upholding proper standards.”

Morton was not at the hearing and his request for “voluntary erasure” from the medical register was refused.

If it had been granted, he could have requested to go back on to the medical register at any time.

This has now been made more difficult by the GMC panel’s determination to have him struck off.

The GMC panel had earlier determined Morton was unfit to practise.

Panel chairman Eileen Carr said: “The reasons why the panel considers that Dr Morton’s fitness to practise is impaired are there remains a risk of reoffending.

“Dr Morton is still subject to the sex offenders register and is still in the process of serving the probation order imposed upon him.

“The panel has no evidence before it that Dr Morton has undertaken appropriate continuing professional development.”

Morton, who worked at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, was arrested in 2002 after police raided his parents’ house in Broughty Ferry.

Officers found two computer discs containing pornographic pictures of young boys aged between 14 and 16.

‘Suffered enough’

A paediatrician who examined the images said some were distressing in the extreme.

Morton admitted downloading and possessing the pictures when he was a 19-year-old medical student at Dundee University.

The doctor initially escaped with an official admonishment from a sheriff.

Dundee Sheriff Derek Pyle was criticised by child protection agencies after saying he would “take a risk” with Morton and added that he had “suffered enough”.

Following a public outcry, appeal court judges quashed the sentence and imposed a three-year probation order.

Morton was also ordered to attend a local sex offenders treatment programme.

In 2005, he was suspended for a year and this was then extended for another 12 months.