Fresh ban for doctor who injected wife with heroin

Sibery was spared jail in December 2012 at Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Picture: Greg Macvean
Sibery was spared jail in December 2012 at Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A doctor who watched his wife collapse after injecting her with heroin was handed a new 10-month ban after a tribunal ruled he is still not fit to practise.

Dr Ashley Sibery plied wife Sital with the deadly drug at their home in London Street, Edinburgh.

The couple had both been drinking when Sibery confessed he had been using heroin for the past two months and his partner threatened to end the marriage if he did not quit his habit.

But despite her ultimatum, the GP was able to persuade her to take what was supposed to be his final hit on the evening of April 1, 2012.

Moments later Sital collapsed with breathing difficulties prompting the medic to call an ambulance.

His wife was rushed to hospital where she made a full recovery.

Sibery was spared jail in December 2012 after Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard he had beaten his addiction and his wife and colleagues were sticking by him.

But he was hauled before his professional regulator in January this year to fight to keep his job.

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service panel suspended him for just nine months after finding he was “unlikely to offend again”.

The hearing was held behind closed doors after the panel decided it was not in the public interest to hear details of the doctor’s ‘health’.

Sibery could have gone back to work when the suspension expired at the end of next month, but a panel reviewing his case this week imposed a further 10-month ban.

The public and press were once again excluded from proceedings because of matters relating to the doctor’s health.

But in a report released today MPTS panel chairman Dr Wendy Kuriyan said the doctor was still “not fit to practise”.

The panel heard of an incident described by his barrister, Paul Rogers, as a “set-back”, which was “not in the same league” as the heroin incident.

Dr Kuriyan added: “The panel considers that it would be appropriate to suspend your registration for a period of ten months.”

Sibery was convicted of culpable and reckless conduct in September 2012 after admitting his role in the potentially deadly incident to Lothian and Borders police.

The family doctor was ordered to perform 300 hours community service and placed on supervision by the authorities for two years after a hearing in December 2012.

Just two days after he was charged with the offence, on June 9 2012, Sibery downed half a bottle of vodka then drove to Leith to buy heroin.

He was breathalysed by police after he was seen swerving across the road and arrested for drink driving, and on July 19 2012 he was fined £300 and banned from the roads for 12 months.

At the original MPTS hearing, Catherine Cundy, for the GMC, argued that Sibery’s actions, “including continuing to treat patients whilst taking heroin” were “fundamentally incompatible with continued registration”.

But Michael Uberoi, defending, said that erasure from the medical register would be “disproportionate to the facts of the case”.

The tribunal ruled his fitness to practise was impaired by his convictions but decided to impose just a nine month ban.

Panel chair Karen Heenan, told Sibery: “The panel notes the background to these convictions and your admitted health conditions at the time.

“The panel is of the view that public confidence in the profession would be severely affected by your offences, and that they were serious enough to amount to impairment of fitness to practise.

“Therefore the panel has concluded that your fitness to practise is impaired by reason of your convictions.”

But Sibery was able to persuade the panel to let him keep his job.

Ms Heenan said: “The panel is of the view that the insight into the convictions you have demonstrated in your oral evidence means that there is a much lower risk that you would reoffend again.

“The panel is satisfied that a period of suspension is sufficient to protect the public interest and is a proportionate response to your convictions.”

Sibery will have to attend another review hearing next year before he is allowed back to work.