Dentist is suspended for six months after telling misconduct panel colleagues ‘this is going to sound racist’ but he ‘would not want to be treated by an African’
A senior dentist in charge of monitoring professional standards has been branded ‘deplorable’ after telling colleagues he would not want to be treated by an African.
Rashpal Singh Mondair was suspended for six months after making the shocking comments while acting as chair of the Professional Conduct Committee of the General Dental Council (GDC) – which investigates misconduct in the dental industry.
During a meeting of the panel in August 2018, Mr Mondair, who graduated from the University of Liverpool in 1989, used the phrase: ‘This is going to sound racist but…’ before saying he would not want to be treated by someone from Africa.
A disciplinary hearing of the GDC was told how colleagues were ‘shocked’ and ‘troubled’ by the racist remark, with an awkward silence said to have filled the room.
The hearing heard he also directed the comment towards Eastern Europeans or Asians, but it wasn’t clear which group he included.
Rashpal Singh Mondair was suspended for six months after making the shocking comments while acting as chair of the Professional Conduct Committee of the General Dental Council (op die foto) – which investigates misconduct in the dental industry
One witness claimed he referred to African and Asians, another said Mr Mondair referred to Africa and ‘the sentence continued with reference to other continents or ethnic origins’.
Mr Mondair admitted to the committee he referred to ‘someone from Africa or Eastern Europe’.
In his statement he claimed he said it in the third person, along the lines of: ‘There are people who may not want to see’ people from these geographic areas.
But one witness recalled him specifically saying: ‘I don’t want to be treated by an African or Asian’.
The Committee was satisfied his comments were ‘unprofessional, offensive and racially motivated’.
The panel concluded: ‘At the time of the comments, Mr Mondair was both a registered dental professional and a serving Chair of the GDC’s Professional Conduct Committee and would therefore have known the standards of behaviour expected of a Committee member when carrying out his role.
‘Your conduct had a disruptive effect on the case which you were hearing that day…
‘Your racially motivated comments had the potential to jeopardise the impartiality of the regulatory process and risked the integrity and fairness of the decision-making process.
‘Your behaviour would be regarded as deplorable by both fellow colleagues and the public… you have fallen far short of the standards of conduct that are proper in these circumstances and that this amounts to misconduct which is serious.
A disciplinary hearing of the General Dental Council was told how colleagues were ‘shocked’ and ‘troubled’ by the racist remark, with an awkward silence said to have filled the room (file photo of GDC)
‘Witnesses variously described there being a “short awkward silence” and being “geskok” en later “ontsteld”.’
Mr Mondair told the committee he was not racist and ‘did not have a history of behaving in this way’.
He added no allegation of this nature has been made against him ‘in 30 years of practice in an area with a large Afro-Caribbean community’.
Mr Mondair also said he ‘had personally been a victim of racism, having lived through the Sixties and Seventies, and considered racism to be repugnant’.
Having since been dismissed from his role as chair of Professional Conduct Committee’s in 2019, Mr Mondair has now been suspended for six months.