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Decision No: 03/111C
Practitioner: Mr Christopher Simpson
Charge Characteristics: Manslaughter
Breach of Medicines Regulations
Breach of Medicines Act
Additional Orders: None
Decision: 03111cfindings

 

Charge:  

A Complaints Assessment Committee referred a disciplinary charge to the Tribunal in relation to convictions entered against Mr Simpson that it considered reflected adversely on the practitionerís fitness to practice medicine.

The particulars of the charge alleged:

  1. Dr Roy Christopher Simpson, being at all material times a registered medical practitioner, was convicted by the High Court of Manslaughter, under section 171 of the Crimes Act 1961, being an offence punishable by imprisonment for a term three months or longer:
  2. He was also convicted by the District Court of the following offences, being offences punishable by imprisonment for a term of three months or longer:
  1. Sold by retail a prescription medicine otherwise then under a prescription given by a practitioner or designated prescriber, Section 18(2) Medicines Act 1981x6.
  2. Advertised the availability of new medicines, before the consent or provisional consent of the Minister of Health to the distribution of those medicines had been notified in the Gazette, Sections 20(2) and 20(4) Medicines Act 1981x1.
  3. Published or caused to be published a medical advertisement which made a statement claiming approval of the advertising by the Ministry of Health in contravention of Regulation 7, Medicines Regulations 1984, Section 57(1)(e) Medicines Act 1981x1.
  4. Sold by retail a prescription medicine without being a pharmacist or other authorised person, Section 18(1) Medicines Act 1981x6.
  5. Published or caused to be published a medical advertisement that was likely to mislead any person with regard to the use and/or effect of that medicine and which failed to give sufficient information on precautions, contra-indications and the side effects required by Regulation 8, Medicines Regulations 1984, Sections 57(1)(d) and (f) Medicines Act 1981x1.
  6. Published or caused to be published a medical advertisement that failed to make statements required by Regulation 8, Medicines Regulations 1984 to be made in an advertisement relating to medicines of that description kind or class, Section 57(1)(d) Medicines Act 1981x3.

Mr Simpson, through his Counsel, advised that his name was wrongly recorded in the charge and that his name was in fact Christopher Simpson.

 

Background: 

On 14 September 2001, following trial by jury in the High Court Mr Simpson was convicted of manslaughter and on 12 October 2001 he was sentenced to a term of three years imprisonment.

On 17 October 2001 Mr Simpson, having plead guilty, was convicted in the District Court of a number of offences under the Medicines Act 1981 and was sentenced to a term of two months imprisonment for the offences under section 18 and to a term of one month imprisonment for the offences under section 57. These sentences were to be concurrent with each other and concurrent with the three years imprisonment for manslaughter.

Mr Simpson was convicted of the manslaughter of his mother who had been diagnosed with bowel cancer in 1995. She was nearing the end of her life in October 2000. During the evening of 3 October 2000 Mr Simpson visited his mother. He injected her with a cocktail of drugs in significant quantities in order that she might die. He opened windows to expose her to air and proceeded to attempt to suffocate her by placing a pillow over her face. Then using the bag containing his motherís morphine pump, he twisted the cord of the bag around her neck, pulled it tight and strangled her. Strangulation was the cause of Mrs Simpsonís death.

Mr Simpson, then, pulled his mother part way off the bed with her feet on the bed, called the police and stated to them that he believed his mother had fallen out of bed and strangled herself on the cord of the morphine pump bag. Mr Simpson was charged with murder, he plead not guilty. In his defence, he stated that he was suffering from bipolar disorder and that he was legally insane at the time that he killed his mother. That defence was rejected by the jury and he was convicted of manslaughter rather than murder on the grounds of provocation.

The Medicines Act convictions largely involved internet sales of a range of prescription medicines for the treatment of impotence, erectile dysfunction and obesity.

 

Finding:

The Tribunal considered that the matters giving rise to Mr Simpsonís convictions were extremely serious and reflected adversely on his fitness to practise medicine. The administration of drugs to his mother and the attempts to kill her conflicted with his obligation as a medical practitioner. Further, it found his lack of reference to patient concerns in respect of the Medicines Act convictions was a matter of practice that is not acceptable within the medical profession.

 

Penalty:

The Tribunal ordered:

  1. That Mr Christopher Simpsonís name be formally removed from the Register as from 12 October 2001; and
  2. That he be censured.

The Tribunal backdated the formal removal from the Register to the date of Mr Simpsonís conviction in the High Court of manslaughter. The Tribunal noted that the backdating was reflective only of the specific circumstances relating to Mr Simpson.