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Pharmacist struck off for stealing more than £8k in cash from employer

A Halifax pharmacist has been removed from the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) register for stealing more than £8,000 over a three-year period from his long-time employer. 

The Bradford and Keighley Magistrates Court sentenced Ian Stewart Marsland – registration number 2026915 – to eight months in prison on March 31 for stealing cash totalling £8,218.45 from his place of employment, the GPhC fitness-to-practise committee heard at a hearing on September 9.

Mr Marsland’s prison sentence was suspended for 12 months.

The regulator heard that Mr Marsland – who was present but not represented at the hearing – pleaded guilty before Bradford and Keighley Magistrates Court and that he had faced no other disciplinary action in his 38-year career as a pharmacist.

However, Mr Marsland only partially admitted to the charges when first questioned by the police under caution and “lied about the extent of the amount he had taken”, the regulator heard.

 

“No financial reason for the theft”

 

Mr Marsland first stole from the Luddendenfoot Pharmacy in Halifax on April 30, 2016, the GPhC heard, and continued to do so for more than three years, until October 12, 2019.

He had worked at the pharmacy for 14 years, becoming superintendent pharmacist and later director of the pharmacy, when his theft was discovered.

“I was very disappointed he abused our trust,” Jill Goody, the owner and current director of Luddendenfoot Pharmacy, told C+D. “He was a good pharmacist,” she added.

The regulator heard that Mr Marsland had “no financial reason for the theft” and that he had not been motivated by “financial pressure”. In a statement to the committee, Mr Marsland said that he “had been under increasing work pressure” from June 2018 and “found it hard to accept he should reduce his hours”.

The registrant was convicted of theft on March 31 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £100 and compensation in the sum of £8,218.45, the regulator heard.

Mr Marsland offered to lodge the money he was ordered to return through a solicitor, the GPhC heard.

 

Registrant asked for voluntary removal from register

 

Mr Marsland read a statement to the GPhC council during his hearing, saying he was “appalled and upset at the situation”, and devastated at its effect on his family and colleagues.

He stated that he did not intend to work as a pharmacist again, referring to communications he shared with the GPhC in February 2020 and June 2021. He revealed he had not complied with the continuing professional development requirements that would allow him to resume practice, making him unable to work as a pharmacist in the future.

Mr Marsland also invited the committee to allow him to remove himself voluntarily from the register, although this was not within the council’s powers to consider the request due to the case still being “in the fitness-to-practise process”

He revealed he had written a letter of apology to Ms Goody at the Luddendenfoot Pharmacy in December 2019.

 

What did the committee conclude?

 

The GPhC committee found that Mr Marsland “poses no risk requiring protection of the public” and that “there is a very low risk of repetition of the criminal conduct”.

However, due the "sustained period of time" during which Mr Marsland carried out the offence, the regulator found the registrant’s fitness to practise to be “impaired”.

It decided to remove Mr Marsland from the register because it found that “his actions are such as to bring the profession of pharmacy into disrepute”.

It also concluded that, despite his remorse, the registrant had not “completed a process of reflection such as to develop a deep insight into his wrongdoing”, as he did not yet understand what had driven him to commit the crime. The registrant also “did not show an understanding of the impact” his actions have “on the wider profession”, the GPhC added.

Mr Marsland has been removed from the GPhC register.

Read the full GPhC determination here.

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