The Court of Appeal today overturned a decision which resulted in a consultant paediatrician of "international repute" being struck off over an allegation that he accused a mother of murder.
But Dr David Southall still faces the possibility of further disciplinary proceedings over the allegation following the ruling of Lord Justice Waller, Sir John Dyson and Lord Justice Leveson.
Dr Southall pursued legal action following a decision of the General Medical Council's (GMC) fitness to practise panel to strike him off - a decision which was last year upheld by a High Court judge.
The case against him arose after the paediatrician, one of the UK's leading experts in the protection of children, had been asked by a county council to provide an independent report relating to the safety of the surviving son of Mrs M, from Shropshire.
A GMC panel found in December 2007 that the doctor's actions added to the distress of the mother, whose 10-year-old boy hanged himself in 1996.
Today's announcement followed an appeal ruling in Dr Southall's favour by the three judges last month, when they found that the panel had failed to give adequate reasons over the allegations relating to Mrs M.
Lord Justice Leveson said today that he was "far from convinced that the public interest is truly served" by a re-hearing of the "limited factual allegation that was made in this case, turning on the precise language used 12 years ago".
He added: "Having said that, however, protection of the public interest is primarily for the GMC and I do not consider it appropriate to remove the responsibility for making this decision from them.
"I would quash the findings of the panel in relation to Mrs M, including the sanction, and remit the matter for the GMC to determine whether or not, in the light of all the circumstances and these observations, it is appropriate to pursue the complaint of Mrs M to a fresh panel."
Apart from the Mrs M allegation, a panel has yet to consider what penalties should be imposed on Dr Southall in relation to other charges.Reuse content