Following a referral to the Attorney General's office under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme (ULS) the Court of Appeal is to review the custodial sentence imposed on the disgraced consultant breast surgeon Ian Paterson on 3 August 2017.
The Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme has been established for several years. Anyone can ask for a sentence to be reviewed - they don’t have to be involved in the case - and the process can be triggered even if only one person asks for a sentence to be reviewed.
Paterson was found guilty of 17 charges of wounding with intent relating to nine women and one man at Nottingham Crown Court on 31 May 2017 and subsequently sentenced to 15 years in prison. The judge, Mr Justice Jeremy Baker, said that it was unprecedented to see a senior surgeon of Paterson’s standing sentenced for crimes of this scale and nature.
Kashmir Uppal, a specialist medical negligence solicitor has been instrumental in pursuing claims on behalf of those injured by Paterson since 2010. She was the lead solicitor in the Paterson case before she joined Shoosmiths as a medical negligence partner and continues to represent women and men treated by Paterson in the private health sector.
Kashmir attended the trial and will be present to hear the outcome of the ULS review at the Court of Appeal. After the original sentence was handed down she commented:
‘I was disappointed on behalf of my clients with the original sentence but at the time we reluctantly accepted that 15 years was at the upper end under sentencing guidelines that the judge had to follow.’
Paterson was struck off the medical register at a Medical Practitioners Tribunal in Manchester on July 24 2017, attended by other Shoosmiths medical negligence team members. Nigel Grundy, acting for the General Medical Council which brought the case against Paterson, told tribunal members:
‘Not only did Mr Paterson’s actions represent the antithesis of the Hippocratic Oath, they were the antithesis of the fundamental tenets of good medical practice - a betrayal of his patients’ best interests over 14 years.’
‘It is disappointing that Paterson has failed to acknowledge his crimes and apologise to his victims, or show any remorse. The Court can of course decide to uphold the existing sentence, increase it, or simply issue guidance for future cases, but if the referral results in a more severe sentence, or at least a ruling by the Court of Appeal that he serve the full 15 year term, this would be entirely justified in the eyes of our clients and send a very strong warning to other potential rogue doctors.’