Dr. Ronald John Addleson pleaded guilty last week to operating a health care facility for which a certificate of operation had not been issued by the Registrar of the Health Practice Commission.
After hearing extensive mitigation by Defence Attorney Shaun McCann, Magistrate Nova Hall told Dr. Addleson that no conviction would be recorded against him. However, she ordered him to pay costs of $500.
The Penal Code gives a court the power to discharge a defendant without a conviction, even if the charge is proved, in cases where the character of the defendant or the circumstances of the offence are such that the judge is of the opinion that it is inexpedient to inflict any punishment.
Details of the charge were that Dr. Addleson operated a health care facility at Pasadora Place between 27 June 2005 and 31 July 2007 without the required certificate.
Mr. McCann explained that the law requiring a certificate of operation was passed in 2004 and there had to be a period of implementation.
Cayman was devastated by Hurricane Ivan in September that year. Dr. Addleson applied for the certificate, but was unable to provide supporting documents because they had been lost when both his home and his office were seriously damaged in the storm. One of the missing documents was his grant of Caymanian status, which took some time to get replaced. Because he was lacking certain documents, he was unable to obtain others.
There was also a period when Dr. Addleson was absent from his practice for some time.
Since the charge was brought (Caymanian Compass, 16 October) all of the required documents had been obtained and submitted, Mr. McCann assured the court. Dr. Addleson now has his certificate of operation.
The attorney submitted three letters of reference, including one from a doctor. He applied for a discharge without conviction on the basis of Dr. Addleson’s character and antecedents, as well as the circumstances in this case.
Crown Counsel Tonya Lobban did not take issue with any point raised by Mr McCann.
This was believed to be the first matter of its kind brought to court.
The Health Practice Law provides that whoever operates a health care facility without a certificate is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction in Summary Court to a fine of $50,000 and a further fine of $10,000 for every day during which the facility is operated without a certificate.