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‘Reckless’ expert witness struck off

Doctor found to have falsified experience under oath when providing evidence for injury claims

27 April 2015

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A panel of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) has struck off a medico-legal expert after a law firm supplied it with a comprehensive dossier of 'dishonest' conduct.

Over a number of years, insurance firm Horwich Farrelly had developed growing concerns about the practice of Titus Odedun, which included the misrepresentation under oath of Odedun's employment, clinical specialities, and professional memberships. This conduct was found to be fundamentally incompatible with him being a doctor.

The firm then submitted a dossier of evidence to the General Medical Council (GMC), which brought the case before the MPTS.

In its published findings the MPTS considered that Odedun had 'demonstrated a reckless disregard of [good medical practice] principles' and 'put his own interests before those of the profession'. Furthermore, the tribunal found that 'his conduct amounts to persistent dishonesty and an abuse of his position as an expert'.

Of particular concern to the tribunal was to Odedun's role in a medico-legal context and said: 'The courts and the public as a whole must be able to trust those who provide expert opinion.'

Ronan McCann, a partner at Horwich Farrelly, commented that the decision to remove Odedun from the medical register was an important victory in the fight against fraud.

'Medical evidence forms the foundation of any personal injury case, and the expert's integrity is crucial in assessing the authenticity of these claims. If the medical expert is dishonest in any way how can the courts rely on any of their opinions?' said McCann.

He continued: 'Odedun had been on our radar for some time and we have been challenging his evidence in court for a number of years which allowed us to put together a very strong case to present to the GMC.

'Mr Odedun has not been a practicing doctor for some time so the panel did not consider that his misconduct had presented a risk to public health. However, as he provided statements to support a large number of personal injury claims he could potentially have cost insurers, and hence honest policyholders, huge amounts of money as a result of his persistent dishonesty.'

Odedun had suggested some 'malicious intent' in Horwich Farrelly's actions against him. This was, however, rejected by the MPTS.

Horwich Farrelly said it would continue to investigate dishonest activity irrespective of whether it was by those pursuing compensation, or the professionals supporting their claims.

 

John van der Luit-Drummond is deputy editor for Solicitors Journal
john.vanderluit@solicitorsjournal.co.uk | @JvdLD

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Expert witness Clinical negligence