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Regulator was wrong in finding pharmacist’s words were ‘not antisemitic’, High Court says

By Allie Anderson
Freelance journalist

24 Jun 2021

The High Court has upheld an appeal against a GPhC ruling that comments made by a pharmacist were not antisemitic.

Disciplinary proceedings were brought against Nazim Ali, managing partner of Chelsea Pharmacy Medical Clinic in London, after it was alleged he made offensive and antisemitic comments during a speech at a rally in June 2017.

Appearing before a GPhC Fitness to Practise (FTP) Committee in October last year, Mr Ali admitted that his words had been ‘grossly offensive’ but contended that he did not have antisemitic intent and his comments were not antisemitic.

The committee agreed, yet determined that Mr Ali’s use of the words amounted to serious misconduct. It ruled that his fitness to practise was impaired and issued him with a warning.

However, the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) appealed to the High Court against the GPhC’s finding that Mr Ali’s comments were not antisemitic, citing that the committee had wrongly taken into account the pharmacist’s subjective intention and good character.

The High Court allowed the PSA’s appeal and quashed the regulator’s findings. The case has been remitted back to the GPhC’s FTP Committee to be reconsidered.

Commenting on the judgment, Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the GPhC, said: ‘We agree that the Fitness to Practise Committee erred in its approach to deciding whether or not the comments made by Mr Ali were antisemitic and we did not contest the appeal by the PSA. 

‘We will make sure the learnings from this case and the High Court judgment are shared across the organisation and our committees.’

Mr Ali’s subsequent FTP hearing will be scheduled ‘at the earliest opportunity’, the GPhC added.

Earlier this year, the Government published plans to update legislation on medical regulators that would make it quicker to resolve FTP investigations.

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