Tan Boon Chee David v Medical Council of Singapore

CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeChoor Singh J
Judgment Date15 May 1980
Neutral Citation[1980] SGHC 15
Citation[1980] SGHC 15
Defendant CounselSachi Saurajen (Drew & Napier)
Plaintiff CounselSinga Retnam and Seah Sheng Yong (Seah Koh & Singa)
Published date19 September 2003
Docket NumberOriginating Motion No 50 of 1978
Date15 May 1980
Subject MatterAdministrative Law,Council members walking in and out of proceedings at own leisure,Charge of infamous conduct,Breach of natural justice,Disciplinary procedures,Natural justice,Professional conduct,Professions,Improper exercise of statutory jurisdiction,Inquiry by Medical Council,Medical profession and practice,Not all members of Medical Council who were present at start of inquiry present throughout hearing,Whether breach of rules of natural justice,ss 23 & 24 Medical Registration Act (Cap 218),Inquiry into charges of infamous conduct,Council members not present on both days

This appeal involves a question of importance as to the proper exercise of the statutory jurisdiction conferred on the medical council of Singapore to remove from the medical register a practitioner who is alleged to have been guilty of infamous conduct in a professional respect. Parliament has conferred on the medical council responsibility for the register and has constituted the council a domestic forum to determine whether a case is made out for striking off the list a particular name.

It is convenient at this point to set out the terms of s 23(1) of the Medical Registration Act on which the whole question turns.
It runs as follows:

If any person registered, whether provisionally or otherwise, under this Act is convicted of any heinous offence or, after due inquiry by the medical council, is deemed by the council to have been guilty of infamous conduct in any professional respect, the medical council may order the name of that person to be removed from the register.

The appellant who is a registered medical practitioner was given notice of six charges of infamous conduct in a professional respect.
In all six charges it was alleged that the appellant had prescribed and supplied the drug `Rohypnol` to named patients in such `irregular and excessive quantities` that it constituted infamous conduct in a professional respect. The appellant appeared before the medical council at a hearing of the charges held pursuant to the provisions of s 23 of the Act. The appellant was represented by counsel. Witnesses were called by both sides. The inquiry was held over two days. At the conclusion of the inquiry, the medical council made an order that the appellant be suspended from medical practice for nine months. The appellant now appeals to this court against the said Order.

A large number of grounds are relied upon for asking this court to set aside the order made by the medical council suspending the appellant from medical practice.
I consider it unnecessary to consider them or to deal with the merits of this case because on reading the record of this case I noticed something which has shocked my sense of justice and is so glaring a breach of natural justice that the order made by the medical council cannot be allowed to stand. I express no opinion on the guilt or innocence of the appellant on the charges that were brought against him by the medical council. That is an entirely different matter which for reasons that follow it is unnecessary to decide.

The record shows that not all members of the medical council who were present at the start of the inquiry were present throughout the hearing.
Some who were present on the first day were absent on the second day. Some who were present on the second day did not attend the hearing on the first day of the inquiry. Furthermore, on both days, members of council were walking in and out of the Inquiry as and when...

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3 cases
  • Re Tang King Kai
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 5 February 1991
    ......(See Re David Marshall [1972] 2 MLJ 221 .) Applying this ... 1988.On 13 May 1988 the Law Society of Singapore applied by way of a summons-in-chambers (ex ... any usage or rule of conduct made by the Council under the provisions of this Act as in the ...: see Ng v R [1987] 1 WLR 1356; Tan Boon Chee v Medico Council of Singapore [1980] 2 ......
  • Re Singh Kalpanath
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 17 March 1992
    ...WLR 256; [1984] 3 All ER 468 (folld) Tahmindjis v Brown (1985) 60 ALR 120 (refd) Tan Boon Chee David v Medical Council of Singapore [1979-1980] SLR (R) 523; [1980-1981] SLR 331 (refd) Yii Suok Ting v Sibu Municipal Council [1986] 1 MLJ 232 (refd) Legal Profession Act (Cap 161,1985 Rev Ed)ss......
  • Re Teo Choo Hong
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 31 May 1995
    ...... wrote to the Law Society of Singapore (the Law Society), forwarding a copy of his ... Act (Cap 161, 1994 Ed) (the Act), the Council of the Law Society referred the matter to the ...In that case, a medical practitioner was ordered by the Medical Council ...In Tan Boon Chee , every member of the Council had a right ......

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