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"An Intent to Deceive"

Discussion in 'General Issues and Discussion Forum' started by Mark Russell, May 14, 2016.

  1. Members do not see these Ads. Sign Up.
    Dear Colleagues

    Many of you will have read various threads over the last few years about my little adventure with the health regulator in the UK that oversees the podiatric profession - the Health and Care Professions Council. This little drama with the authorities has been played out in in several courts in London and Lancashire and has unravelled into quite an extraordinary story. You will be aware that the legal proceedings are now complete and only the verdict remains to be delivered - sometime in the next few weeks.

    Being a defendant in a criminal trial will not, thankfully, be an experience enjoyed by many podiatrists during their career. Unfortunately, it is something I am familiar with even before the HCPC came along. What most of you will not know is that I was once a defendant in another criminal case. Twenty years ago in Scotland, I was on trial in the High Court with a co-accused - a respected solicitor - facing charges of the utmost gravity in a trail that lasted over three months. On that occasion, both of us were acquitted of all charges when the prosecution case collapsed, but the experience was not without significant consequences, as by then I had already lost my practice, home and marriage. Proving one's innocence sure comes at cost.

    It was an interesting time and by necessity, it turned my career in a very different direction.

    Two decades later during another criminal prosecution for an altogether minor offence with the regulator and I find myself back in the land of another establishment farce and one with extremely serious consequences for all parties concerned.

    I had never intended to write a book about podiatry, at least not at this stage of my life, but as events have unfolded over the last couple of years, I realised that I had a responsibility to chronicle the experience, if for no other reason than to provide an accurate account of what happened. In doing so, it has provided me with a context for the earlier trial that was completely unexpected.

    An 'Intent to Deceive' will be published on 15 November 2016 and tells the story of both cases and the background to them. Podiatry Arena has hosted the various threads on the latter case with the HCPC and has been mentioned during several stages in the hearings, so you will not be surprised that Arena and some of its characters also get a mention - for a number of reasons! :butcher::drinks:empathy::boxing: Most of the book has been written - there are only a couple of short chapters left to do, before I revise it over the summer and send it off to the lawyers.

    However, I am in some extreme difficulty presently and I would like to ask you for some help.

    Most of you will know that I ceased practice two years ago when the HCPC published their inaccurate and damaging press release. I had no way of knowing that two and a half years later, we would still be in court, fighting to clear my name. It has been a long and drawn out affair - and an expensive one.

    The prosecution will bear the brunt of the costs - their QC and solicitor fees will likely be in excess of half a million pounds by now, but of course, that will be met from registrant funds - i.e. your money.

    My outlay is a little less with legal costs just over UK59,000 and loss of earnings now at UK305,000. I didn't have a particularly great starting point at the beginning of the case, which is one of the reasons I was self-represented initially, but as matters have progressed and I was forced to engage legal agents, the financial outlook not only darkened but disappeared completely and I find myself yet again in another invidious and acutely embarrassing position.

    Two decades ago, my legal costs were covered by legal aid, which was incredibly helpful as my advocate was Alex Prentice, who is now the Principle Crown Counsel under the Lord Advocate in Scotland. Alex's firm went on to represent Abdel Basset Al Megrahi at the Lockerbie Trial and his fees to represent me would probably have exceeded even that of the HCPC's - he is one of the best criminal lawyers in the UK.

    In my current case, legal aid fees are restricted to UK3,200 in total - and this is the amount I may be awarded in the event of an acquittal under the new rules imposed four years ago by government. As mentioned previously, proving one's innocence is an expensive business.

    Hopefully sales from the book will help restore some finances in the coming years and there is always the prospect of compensation, depending on the judgement and narrative delivered by the court. But I have to try and get through to the book launch later this year and this is what I would like to do.

    I have made 'Intent to Deceive' available now as a pre-order through my website. In addition to the book, purchasers will also receive copies of my two CDs - one an instrumental classical guitar collection and the other entitled 'Lies & Deception - a collection of my own, topical songs. The purchase price is UK30 however please be aware that I will need to charge an additional fee for postage for overseas orders nearer publication. I guess its like crowdfunding, but it's not a donation, it's an order for something I hope you will treasure.

    I'm sure most of you will be sick to death of reading my posts on the subject, but I can promise you an enlightening, entertaining and very readable account of one podiatrist's journey through a curiously rewarding and illuminating career - and with some good music to accompany the tale!

    If you are minded, you can pre-order here. I would be most grateful.

    A selection of my writing on the case can be found on my website link at the foot of the post and some music is available on soundcloud.

    Many thanks. :drinks

    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2016
  2. blinda

    blinda MVP

  3. Will be on the top of things to do this week
  4. Phil Wells

    Phil Wells Active Member

    Good luck Mark.
    Pre-payment made.

  5. Thanks guys - I really appreciate that.
  6. Judgement from today's hearing. I wish I could say I was shocked, but that would be akin to claiming surprise that Dracula had declined the vegetarian option at dinner. I'll leave you to form your own opinion but I am going to digest this for a few days before I make any further comment. I thought I had seen it all but at this rate turquoise giraffes will be playing Quidditch on the moon tonight and England will be odds on to win the next World Cup.

    Methinks the hole just got a lot deeper..

    Attached Files:

  7. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Sad outcome for you.
    But, did notice comment in document are titles are not protected; which ironically is a good outcome that has come at great cost to you.
  8. blinda

    blinda MVP

    The Judge was very careful to use the term "designated titles" throughout the verdict as she had to admit that the titles themselves are not "protected" by law because prosecution could only take place if there is an "intent to deceive". However, she refused to believe that the profession has in any way been misled by the HCPC into thinking titles are protected, despite the indisputable written evidence that they had "forgotten" to mention the addendum in their initial prosecution attempt.

    Gutted for a principled, honest and hard-working colleague who has done so much for our profession.

    It is now up to the profession to decide what they do with the legal ramifications that have been unearthed through Mark's ordeal.
  9. fishpod

    fishpod Well-Known Member

    what does this mean its over you lost i read the judgement in full and you did some extrordinarily stupid things. I agree that the public is not protected by the hcpc but this case is about far more than that. you have payed a very heavy price i wish you all the best.
  10. blinda

    blinda MVP


    Your dysgraphia renders your spiteful post completely meaningless.
  11. fishpod

    fishpod Well-Known Member

    my post is not spiteful . i always suspected Mark would lose the odds were stacked against him from the begining.I dont understand why he started in the beginning as it was never going to end happily if you could not see that you are not as bright as you think.
  12. Another armchair expert. What makes you think it's finished?
  13. blinda

    blinda MVP

    If you think that saying, "you did some extrordinarily stupid things" is not spiteful and do not "understand" why Mark took the principled stand that he did, then I would suggest that you ask yourself about this `brightness` that you speak of.

    I don`t have the patience to entertain you any further. Goodbye.
  14. Thanks Craig - disappointed that it's not at an end, for sure, but there is a lot of interesting reading in her judgement nonetheless. I have to be careful what I say at the moment as I do not wish to prejudice the chance of an appeal to the higher court or to be held in contempt by making offensive or insulting remarks about the proceedings yesterday, but you can take it that I am less than pleased at the narrative and outcome. I'll post an update on my blog tomorrow and link it through this thread.


  15. fishpod

    fishpod Well-Known Member

    Hey ime not the only dysgraphic pod i asked in my original post is it over did you lose . So i gather its not over and you did not lose is that what you are telling me.
  16. fishpod

    fishpod Well-Known Member

    telling a lady patient to report him to the hcpc when he was not on the register seems a little suprising.
  17. If I were you, I would delete this post as you will quite properly be held in contempt for your remarks.
  18. fishpod

    fishpod Well-Known Member

    dont know how to delete a post thought it was not possible i will coment no further on this subject and once again if you get closure and proper protection of title i will applaud your efforts.
  19. blinda

    blinda MVP


    I apologise for my earlier abruptness, but I feel that it should be stated quite clearly not just for you, but for anyone else that still mistakenly thinks that this is about trying to obtain functional closure...it is not. That won`t happen for the simple reason that it is contrary Government agenda.

    From my perspective, as a friend and colleague of Mark, I would describe his stand as matter of addressing a discourtesy that has escalated into an obligation for him to clear his discredited name. End of.

    BTW, I would also recommend you edit your previous post for the reason outlined by Mark.
  20. fishpod

    fishpod Well-Known Member

    no problem thanks for explaining the edit button.
  21. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    HCPC vs Mark Russell conviction appeal
    Statement from the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists following the outcome
  22. I will issue a statement about the outcome of the appeal in due course, but in response the the statement issued by the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists (above), please note the following.

    The Society's Council, Executive and membership are aware that the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) have misled the profession regarding designated titles since its inception in 2003. My original concern with the regulator was a safeguarding matter which arises when registrants are struck off for serious misconduct or lack of competence - and are still able to practice in the private sector using a different title.

    When I raised my concern, I thought our titles of Chiropodist and Podiatrist were "protected" in law and their use restricted to those only on the HCPC register. I was not aware of the qualification that an offence could only occur if use of the titles whilst unregistered was accompanied by an intention to deceive. I suspect my understanding was consistent with all of my colleagues in the UK at the time.

    In 2004/5 I served as a Council member with the Society and was part of their Legislative Affairs Committee under the Chairmanship of Ralph Graham. Most of our remit concerned the recently introduced Health Professions Order and the HCPC. Throughout my time on Council, I was never advised of the qualification of an ITD in title protection, nor were any of my colleagues.

    The concealment of this essential part of the legislation by the HCPC has been exposed by the examination of the evidence, particularly the legislation - and its relevance in proceedings related to my means rea or understanding of the legislation at the time of the alleged offence.

    In her judgment, HH Beech stated:
    On 10th October 2015, I wrote to the Society's Chief Executive and Council on the following terms:

    I received a reply on 29 October:
    In April 2016, Ralph Graham kindly offered a witness statement in relation to our understanding of the legislation which I have attached below. Ralph's statement was served on the HCPC immediately, but unfortunately he was on holiday on the final day of evidence. His statement was however, seen by the Judge - as were some two dozen other letters and statements from colleagues saying much the same. That we were not aware of the necessity of an intent to deceive to commit an offence by calling yourself a podiatrist without HCPC registration.

    It is regrettable that the Society was unwilling to issue a statement about the advice they gave to a former Council member during his time in office as it may have made a difference in the outcome, but it is hardly surprising.

    In regard to the final paragraph: I resigned as a member of the Society in 2006 - before I deregistered from the HCPC in September 2008. I resigned as I believed that the organisation was failing in its primary function of promoting the best interest of its membership. Further, the reason I ceased registration from the regulator was simply because the Registrar had failed to respond to my concerns - as an individual registrant - over the safeguarding of the public from registrants that have been struck off for serious misconduct or lack of competence and go on to exploit the weakness in the legislation to carry on practice under a different guise. It is regrettable, as ever, that the Society as once again silent on the risk to the public from these individuals, but of course, to do otherwise would rock the boat.

    And we can't have that.


    Attached Files:

  23. blinda

    blinda MVP

    I couldn't agree more. Regrettable is an understatement.
  24. Things to do lists take time it seems finally done :eek:
  25. Thanks, Mike.

    Case summary and response to the judgment here

    Kind regards


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