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Doctor admits webcam sex act


A doctor has admitted masturbating in front of a webcam in his consultation room.

Damian Smith, 37, recorded a computer video file entitled "Me In Surgery" which showed him masturbating at the request of a woman.

He performed the sex act shortly after seeing patients in morning surgery at the Peel Medical Centre on the Isle of Man.

The GP later explained he was asked to make a video while he was in "a heightened state of vulnerability" as he looked through a host of medical legal emails, a disciplinary panel heard.

Elizabeth Dudley-Jones, counsel for the General Medical Council (GMC), said police discovered the file on the hard drive of his personal laptop after practice bosses raised concerns about the incident on New Year's Eve 2010.

In the video Dr Smith is seen sitting at his surgery desk with the lights out, she said.

"Dr Smith is seen talking to a female on the webcam," she continued. "He refers to her by her first name.

"He said this was his new place of work and then turned round the webcam to show the room.

"He placed the webcam back on the surgery desk where he then appeared to remove his trousers.

"He continued to talk and then began to indulge in sexually explicit conversation, referring to his penis. He ejaculates and then Dr Smith closes down the webcam.

"It is the GMC's case that Dr Smith's behaviour was indecent, inappropriate and was conduct that was likely to bring the medical profession into disrepute."

A fitness to practise panel was told the doctor, who graduated from the University of Southampton, was sacked by fellow partners at the practice but no criminal charges were brought by Isle of Man police.

Appearing at a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) hearing in Manchester, Dr Smith admitted committing an act of a sexually explicit nature, creating an electronic recording of it and then transmitting it to a third party.

The GMC say his fitness to practise is impaired because of his misconduct.

The panel was told Dr Smith sent a letter of apology to the practice partners in which he said he was "shamefully sorry" and that his actions were "utterly stupid".

Dr Smith wrote the incident "could easily have been avoided" if he had not taken his laptop to work.

In a letter to the GMC, the practice's senior partner Malcom Guild said Dr Smith's clinical competence had never been called into question and there was no history of improper behaviour involving patients.

Miss Dudley-Jones said the proved facts of the case amounted to not only misconduct but serious misconduct.

She said: "To put it simply, the public would not expect their GP to be masturbating in front of his desk while online."

Alan Jenkins, for Dr Smith, said the doctor had performed the sex act for his girlfriend.

He said: "The woman he was dealing with on the internet was a woman he was in a relationship with. She was not a patient.

"He was behind a locked door. He could not have been intruded upon.

"There was no risk of staff, patients or children entering the room and being surprised by what they witnessed."

He said it was an entirely private moment for the enjoyment of one other person.

Mr Jenkins conceded it was "unquestionably" misconduct but added there was no breach of trust and that Dr Smith accepted responsibility and a sense of shame to his colleagues from the outset.

The hearing resumes tomorrow morning.