Friday 19 January 2018

Dentist who sexually assaulted nurse withdraws appeal against being struck off

Aodhan O'Faolain

A DENTIST convicted of sexually assaulting a dental nurse at his surgery has withdrawn his appeal against a decision erasing his name from the list of registered dentists.

Father of three John Tait was found guilty by a jury at Cork Circuit Court last May of sexually assaulting the then 19 year-old woman at his surgery at St Patrick's Terrace, in Douglas, Cork, on December 20, 2006.

Tait (61), of Glen House, Upper Rochestown, Cork, had denied the charge. Last June Judge Raymond Fullam imposed a 15-month jail sentence on Tait for the offence but suspended it on condition he be of good behaviour.

Following his conviction, the Dental Council decided last October that Dr Tait's name be erased from the Register of Dentists. Once off the register he cannot practise as a dentist. He appealed that decision to the High Court.

Today, Paul Anthony McDermott Bl for Dr Tait, told High Court President Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns that his client was withdrawing his appeal.

Counsel said after studying a transcript of Dr Tait's sentencing hearing and having consulting with his client it was decided not to proceed with the appeal.

There had been some confusion about what Judge Fullam had been told in relation to whether Dr Tait had ceased to practise or not before passing sentence.

Counsel said that from the transcript Judge Fullam "had understood that" Dr Tait had ceased practising when he was taking all various factors into consideration before he decided to impose an 18 month suspended prison sentence.

At the time of the sentencing hearing Dr Tait had ceased working as a dentist pending the outcome of the criminal case, counsel added.

As a result of the withdrawal Mr Justice Kearns, following an application by Mr Shane Murphy SC for the Dental Council, made an order confirming that Dr Tait's name be erased from the dental register.

During the criminal trial, the jury heard that Dr Tait asked the young woman to remove her bra so he could feel her sternum during a procedure to check the alignment of her teeth and jaw.

The victim removed her bra but left on a tunic and a thermal vest and, after asking if he could unzip her tunic, Dr Tait lifted her vest without permission and exposed her breasts.

When passing sentence Judge Fullam said he was taking into account that the offence was at the lesser end of the scale of sexual assault, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years, that Tait had no previous convictions and he was unlikely to reoffend.

Judge Fullam said Dr Tait had abused his position of trust as her employer and that as man then in his 50s, he assaulted a vulnerable girl.

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