In April we wrote about Dr Hibbert, the family court psychiatrist who found himself before a GMC Fitness to Practice panel on allegations of serious wrongdoing.
He has since been exonerated (through lack of evidence rather than tangible confirmation of innocence) and is now seeking to become an Intervenor in a case involving one of the mothers who spoke out about his conductwhich ultimately led to the GMC probe.
An Intervenor is someone who has an interest in a case. It cannot be a material interest, but that interest must be considered vital to the judge’s determination of the case. Dr Hibbert has requested that he and a colleague be made Intervenors of this case which involves care proceedings, as well as making the following requests:
- The council in question provide to George Hibbert and XXXX with a complete care bundle
- To extend the date for the filing of the statement till 27th June 2014
- To make special arrangements for himself as he alleges that the mother in question made violent threats towards him during the recent GMC proceedings
It should be noted that the date upon which Dr Hibbert wishes to file his statement is the day of the trial itself. That’s not usually considered to be appropriate as the parties to a case should have reasonable time to read all material before going in to court. Dr Hibbert should be well aware of this.
It is also worth mentioning that the mother in question did not attend the GMC Fitness to Practice hearing, so she could not possibly have made any such threats. The mother has written confirmation of her non-attendance.
So, what does Dr Hibbert hope to gain by becoming an Intervenor, and what is his interest in the case? We take the view that he wishes to engage in nothing more than damage control. Intervenors are allowed to take part in a case if allegations are made against them, however in this set of proceedings that is highly unlikely and, in any event, completely irrelevant to the case at hand. It certainly won’t alter the judge’s view of the material facts in question.
Should the psychiatric reports before her seem unsatisfactory, the judge has every right to question them. Equally, the judge has a right to accept the evidence before her as adequate. Parties are also entitled to question the materials used in a case. That’s why we have the court process.
So, there is really no reason for Dr Hibbert to intervene. We very much hope the judge will see through what we think is a shoddy and unethical attempt at trying to wade into a mother’s hearing, in the name of nothing more than vanity and pride.