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R v Richardson (Diane)

[1999] QB 444

Case summary last updated at 14/01/2020 19:59 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case R v Richardson (Diane)

A dentist was suspended from practice by the General Dental Council but continued to treat people under the pretence that he was still allowed to practice. He was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm since, in the absence of consent, his acts constituted such an assault. CA acquitted him since fraud only vitiated consent where it was used to conceal the identity of the person (e.g. in an Australian case a man fraudulently caused a woman to believe that they were married and she only had sex with him on that basis- he was acquitted of rape) or the nature of the act. Fraud in this case did neither. CA rejected an argument that someone’s qualifications were a part of their identity. This is wrong: in this case the relevant aspect (disqualification) was a part of the dentist’s identity since the patients wouldn’t have allowed him to operate on them had they known of his disqualification. Indeed in accepting a professional’s services the ONLY aspect of their identity that is of concern is their qualification/competence. Hence the court construes “identity” too narrowly. 

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