Published: 00:01, 31 July 2014 |
Updated: 15:25, 31 July 2014
A disgraced doctor who lied to cover up his wife’s car crash has been struck off, despite falling to his knees and begging health watchdogs for leniency.
Dr Maduka Ogweuleka, of Aspen Way, Chatham, and his 37-year-old wife, Chioma, were both convicted of perverting the course of justice in February.
Maidstone Crown Court heard that Mrs Ogweuleka, an unlicensed, uninsured and unaccompanied driver, hit a parked Jaguar belonging to Gary Case, in Sedge Crescent, Chatham, in March last year.
But her 34-year-old husband took the blame for the crash, claiming it had been him driving the Vauxhall Astra.
The couple, who denied the charge, were spared an immediate jail term, with Ogweuleka sentenced to nine months and his wife four months, both suspended for a year.
This week he faced a fitness to practise panel hearing where he begged for leniency, repeatedly saying “please forgive me” between bouts of sobbing and quoting 18th century English poet Alexander Pope.
"This will never happen again. Please give me a second chance, I beg of you" - Dr Ogweuleka
Giving evidence on his knees on Tuesday, Dr Ogweuleka said: “I’m highly apologetic, highly remorseful, this is shameful.”
The father-of-three was the sole breadwinner in the family and he feared for his marriage, home and relatives in Africa if he were to lose his livelihood permanently.
“I have never, ever in my life hurt anybody, but I have brought shame with this act, thinking I was caring towards my wife,” he explained.
“To err is human, to forgive is divine,’ he said, adding: “This will never happen again. Please give me a second chance, I beg of you.”
The panel heard that Mrs Ogweuleka had been driving the Astra without L plates when she hit Mr Case’s car.
She drove off, but returned later to tell Mr Case she had to take her children to school or they would be late.
An hour later he went to the Ogweuleka home, spoke to the wife and later reported the incident to his insurance company.
He was told Mrs Ogweuleka was not insured to drive the car.
Days later the Ogweulekas arrived at Mr Case’s home where the husband now claimed it had been him driving and said he would pay for the damage.
Robin Sellers, for the General Medical Council, said Dr Ogweuleka used his professional position to try to convince the jury he was telling the truth.
Mr Sellers said the doctor should be struck off to maintain public confidence in the profession.
“It is the layers of lies and the period of time and the persistent character of this lie to different agencies and different individuals that aggravate this case and make it one in which erasure is the correct sanction.”
Panel chairman Dr Peter Jefferys told him: “Although you have expressed apology and remorse the panel has concluded that you do not fully understand the seriousness of your conviction for the offence of perverting the course of public justice.
“You used your position as a doctor to say in court that, as a member of the medical profession, you are to be trusted.
“Patients and the public are entitled to expect medical practitioners to act honestly and with integrity at all times.
“You have abused the trust the public is entitled to place in the medical profession and your behaviour is completely unacceptable and fundamentally incompatible with continued registration.”
Ogweuleka has 28 days to appeal.
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