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GPhC removes pharmacy technician over ‘possession of indecent photographs of children’

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The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) Fitness to Practise Committee has removed a pharmacy technician from Register after been found guilty of possessing ‘indecent photographs of a child’.

Graeme Arthur, a pharmacy technician first registered with GPhC on 1 September 2019, under the registration number 5039154, was found guilty at Peterlee Magistrate’s Court in August 2022. He received an 18-month Community Order, and is subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 5 years. He was also ordered to undertake a period of rehabilitation activity for 40 days.

In a remote video link hearing held on 2 – 3 May, the Fitness to Practise Committee found Arthur’s fitness to practise to be currently impaired on grounds of protection of the public and in the wider public interest of declaring and upholding the Standards of the profession and maintaining public confidence in the reputation of the profession.

The committee considers this to be a serious conviction for an offence which has included possession of the most serious category of images of sexual abuse of children.

It said: “Although Mr Arthur had no direct contact with the children concerned, the nature of the abuse is that it thrives on the demand from those who search for and view the images online. As such, children come to actual harm indirectly through the activity of someone viewing and possession of images of sexual abuse.”

It added: “…However, the Pre-Sentence Report from the Probation Service found that he remained at “medium risk” of further offending for possessing or downloading of indecent images of children. He has not yet completed his 40 days of rehabilitation activity and his sentence includes a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for a period of 5 years, which continues until 2027.

“The Safer Lives Report dated 6 April 2022 concludes that the programme of work undertaken “represents a start for Mr Arthur to begin to understand, challenge and change his behaviours.” For all of the above reasons, we conclude that Mr Arthur continues to present a potential risk to patients or the public.”

On Monday 10th January 2022, Police attended the home address of Arthur and seized digital equipment in relation to an investigation for possessing indecent images of children.

Following a forensic examination of Arthur’s mobile phone, the Forensic Examiner identified three Category A images, two Category B images and two Category C images.

Police conducted a voluntary interview with Arthur on 14 January 2022 in relation to the offence of possessing indecent images of children. At the beginning of the interview, Arthur denied the offence but, further into the interview he made admissions. On 08 July 2022, Arthur was charged with the possession of indecent images across three categories.

The Council decision will not take effect until 31 May 2023 or, if an appeal is lodged, once that appeal has been concluded. However, the interim suspension set out in the decision takes effect immediately and will lapse when the decision takes effect or once any appeal is concluded.

 

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