Posted: October 28, 2008|
A psychiatrist who surfed the web for child pornography has been told he can only treat adults for the next 18 months. Dr Darryl Watts, 45, was suspended from practice for a year in April 2004 after he used the internet for up to 30 hours a week to look at obscene pictures of youngsters.
The General Medical Council (GMC) heard how the doctor from Hereford started his surfing habit after he was signed off work with depression while working at a large practice in Bristol.
Before his conviction, Watts had been based at Blackberry Hill Hospital, Fishponds, looking after adult NHS patients.
Watts, who qualified in Bristol in 1984, moved with his long-term partner to Hereford and joined Hereford primary care trust in January 2003, three months before his arrest.
Police raided his home as part of Operation Ricochet and seized his computer, which contained an image of a naked girl aged between five and seven in a sexual pose.
Watts was fined £1,500 by Hereford magistrates in August 2003 after admitting possession of an indecent photograph of a child under the age of 16. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender for five years and his computer was destroyed.
In October 2006, he was allowed to carry on working, provided he only treated adults.
He was removed from the sex offenders’ register in August this year and has not re-offended for three years.
But GMC panel chairman Ralph Bergmann this week said restrictions were still necessary because Watts still needed to demonstrate a further period of non-offending without the controls of the sex offenders’ register.
He said: “In your evidence you explained you viewed child pornography at a time when you were feeling depressed and were under considerable distress.
“While you stated in evidence that you regret what you have done, this panel is not convinced that you have the necessary level of insight into your offending behaviour and its consequences,” said Mr Bergmann.
“In addition, the panel has borne in mind that you were convicted of a very serious offence.
“This panel takes a serious view of the nature of this conviction and its implications for the maintenance of public trust and confidence in the medical profession.
“The panel notes that your name was only removed from the Sex Offenders’ Register as recently as August 2008.”
Placing restrictions on his registration for a further 18 months, Mr Bergmann told Watts he must follow his psychiatrist’s advice against over-working as he started a part-time consultancy job with Gwent Healthcare NHS trust in Newport in December.
As part of his new restrictions, Watts is only allowed to work with adults. The doctor is also only allowed to carry out four NHS sessions a week.
He must also notify his employers, or any future employers, of the restrictions on his practice.
Watts will have to return to the GMC in 18 months, when a conduct committee will decide whether further restrictions should be imposed.