(Pixabay)

Doctor suspended in U.K. and New Brunswick after online chat with cop

Dr. Hafeez Awan was sanctioned after making ‘sexually motivated’ remarks

A New Brunswick doctor who was found guilty of misconduct in England after an online chat with a cop posing as a teen has been suspended from practising in New Brunswick for nine months.

The suspension, announced Saturday by the New Brunswick College of Physicians and Surgeons, matches a suspension earlier this month by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in the United Kingdom.

Dr. Hafeez Awan was sanctioned after making “sexually motivated” remarks to someone who identified herself as a 13-year-old girl.

The person he was conversing with in an internet chat room, by text message and on WhatsApp was actually a police detective.

The electronic conversations at issue occurred in January 2016 when Awan was working in Leeds and nearby Wakefield. He moved to Canada in October 2017, and began a practice in Saint John.

The board of the New Brunswick College of Physicians and Surgeons met Friday to consider Awan’s case.

On Saturday, registrar Dr. Ed Schollenberg said they adopted the suspension from the U.K.

“We reached an agreement with Dr. Awan that he would allow us to impose the same penalty they did in Britain. Basically, being found guilty in another jurisdiction of misconduct is, in itself, misconduct for our purpose,” he said in an interview.

In its ruling, the U.K. tribunal said that after being told he was conversing with a 13-year-old, Awan “continued to try to engage with Person A via different social media platforms and made inappropriate and sexually motivated remarks to her.” It says he tried to arrange to speak with her by telephone when an adult would not be present.

Transcripts of the messages entered as evidence show Awan, who was using the name Medic333, asked, “r u at school?” when Person A said she was 13. In a later conversation, when she said she didn’t want him calling when her mother was there, he replied, “i know what u mean.”

He later told her they would not be able to meet until she was 16 because it would be illegal.

The tribunal noted that Dr. Awan told Person A that he was a doctor during the initial conversation on Lycos.

While these conversations did not take place in a clinical setting, the tribunal considered Dr. Awan to have breached his “position of trust,” the ruling stated. “It took the view that Dr. Awan’s conduct was unbefitting with that of a registered medical practitioner.”

In his evidence to the tribunal, Awan said he believed the chat room was for adults only and that Person A was lying when she said she was 13.

A lawyer told the tribunal that prior to the allegation, Awan had an unblemished record, and he only became aware of the allegation after moving to Canada in October 2017. He said Awan has taken positive steps to ensure the misconduct is not repeated.

Dr. Awan could not be reached for comment Saturday.

Dr. Schollenberg said Awan will be able to practise again in New Brunswick when the nine month suspension expires.

ALSO READ: B.C. doctors’ corporate profits are key in private-care trial: federal lawyer

Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two of the weapons seized in a Nov. 8 traffic stop in Black Creek. Photo supplied by RCMP
RCMP seize guns, drugs in Black Creek traffic stop

Two arrested in connection with incident

The Island Aurora arrived in Port McNeill on Sunday, June 14. (Gaby Wickstrom Facebook photo)
BC Ferries to trial two-ship service on Campbell River – Quadra Island route

BC Ferries’ newest vessel, Island Aurora, will sail on the Campbell River… Continue reading

Group physical activities have been suspended at Campbell River facilities. File photo by Marc Kitteringham - Campbell River Mirror.
Group physical activities suspended at Campbell River sports facilities

Classes and programs suspended at Strathcona Gardens, Sportsplex and Community Centre

The North Island 9-1-1 Corporation (NI911) has supported local residents for 25 years. Black Press file photo
North Island 911 looks to change how they get funding

Three options to be decided upon in early 2021

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

Picture of two swans leaving the Cowichan estuary moments before one was shot out of the sky. (Submitted photo)
Petition to stop hunting in Cowichan estuary after swan shot

Hunters blame shooting on illegal poachers

Bob Higgins pulls the gate across on the elevator built inside his home. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Island man’s expertise earns international award with home-built elevator

Experience put to use in winning contest entry for furniture and home projects

Barrels pictured outside Oliver winery, Quinta Ferreira, in May. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
B.C. Master of Wine reflects on industry’s teetering economic state

Pandemic, for some wine makers, has been a blessing in disguise. For others, not so much.

A fentanyl test strip is used at Vancouver Coastal Health in Vancouver, Tuesday, January, 21, 2020. The test strips will be made available to drug users to ensure that their drugs are safe and free of Fentanyl. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Drug overdoses lead to 5 deaths each day in October; drug toxicity continues to increase

COVID-19 crisis continues to exacerbate the overdose crisis

Most Read