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Pharmacy technician convicted after ‘paedophile hunter’ sting struck off

A pharmacy technician has been struck off following his conviction for attempting to “engage in sexual communication with a child” after he was caught by a sting operation targeting paedophiles in 2018, the regulator has revealed.

Tahir Munir, registration number 5102209, was sentenced at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court in March last year after he was caught in a “sting” operation by a vigilante “paedophile hunter group” in 2018, the General Pharmaceutical Council’s (GPhC) fitness-to-practise (FtP) committee heard on November 6-7.


Before it heard the facts of the case, the committee determined that Mr Munir was “aware of the hearing, had been given an opportunity to attend and had declined to do so”, according to the hearing document.


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He had written to the regulator on July 18 to say that “he did not intend to attend the hearing” or to practise as a pharmacy technician again, but it decided to continue without Mr Munir since “he had voluntarily absented himself from the proceedings”, it said.


The regulator accepted that Mr Munir had “no previous fitness to practise concerns” and had pleaded guilty in court.


But it stressed that his conduct displayed “a total absence of strong moral principles”, alongside a “lack of testimonials or other evidence speaking to [his] character”.



14-year-old girl



According to the police case summary that was presented to the FtP committee, Mr Munir began chatting online with Molly - who had told him that she was a 14-year-old girl - on July 29 2018.


But “Molly” was actually a 28-year-old woman who was part of a group that exposed paedophiles called “Sole Survivors”, the hearing document said.


Later that day, Mr Munir proceeded to engage Molly in “a more sexually oriented conversation” - including graphic references to sex acts – and despite Molly’s attempts to “shut down” the chat, Mr Munir persisted, it added.


Read more: Pharmacy technician found with ‘indecent images of children’ struck off


The following day, July 30 2018, Mr Munir arranged to meet with Molly at Manchester’s Arndale shopping centre on August 4, saying that he would book a hotel room, bring condoms and “bring his friend with him”, it said.


The paedophile hunting group arranged to “confront” Mr Munir in Manchester, but he did not arrive at the meeting, saying that he was “stuck in traffic” and unable to find a parking spot. A new date was arranged for August 25, the document added.



“Messages of a sexual nature”



According to the determination document, Mr Munir and Molly kept exchanging “messages of a sexual nature” but Mr Munir cut off communications when he asked her why her fake Facebook account “did not have any of the videos they had spoken about”.


Mr Munir was interviewed by police on August 25, the day that had been set for the second meeting, it said.


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He told police that “he never believed she was 14 years old” – despite admitting he “initially knew the girl he was speaking to was underage” - and claimed he had “no intention” of meeting Molly or having sexual contact with her “regardless of her age”, it added.


At the time he was interviewed by police about his offences on August 25 2018, Mr Munir said he had worked at Boots for 13 years as an accuracy checking technician, the GPhC said.


The multiple reported Mr Munir to the regulator on August 31 2018, it added.



Dealing with his “demons”



Mr Munir was convicted at a trial on March 8 last year, after pleading guilty to an “adult attempt to engage in sexual communication with a child”, according to the document.


In his sentencing on March 30, Judge HHJ Baxter noted that at the time of his offences, Mr Munir was “probably going through martial breakdown and difficulty”, it said. 


Nevertheless, the judge described Mr Munir’s attempts to “minimise” his offences and his denial that he was “doing it for sexual gratification” as “nonsense” and “delusional”, adding that he “knew she was 14”.


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Judge Baxter decided against placing Mr Munir in “custody for a short period of time” and instead sentenced Mr Munir to a two-year community order so that he could “really deal with [his] demons”, the document added.


Mr Munir was sentenced to complete a 31-day Horizon programme, which is for child sex offenders to understand their crime and “develop techniques” to prevent reoffending, it said.


He was also to complete 150 hours of unpaid work, was subject to a five-year “sexual harm prevention order” and was placed on the sex offenders register for five years, it added.



“Very serious criminal offence”



In his communications with the GPhC, Mr Munir conceded that he had not behaved “up to GPhC standards” and that his fitness to practise was impaired, the document said.


The committee also noted that he “pleaded guilty in criminal proceedings at the earliest opportunity”, had “no previous fitness to practise concerns” and had told the regulator that he “did not want to work in the pharmacy profession anymore”.


However, the committee stressed that he had not “fully engaged in the proceedings or given any evidence”.


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It said that he did not express any learning, any remorse or any “meaningful insight” and found that there was “a real risk of repetition”, which could cause “serious harm to members of the public who are vulnerable due to their age”.


It considered that Mr Munir had been found guilty of a “very serious criminal offence involving…sexual communication with a child”.


GPhC representative Lara Oseni, who presented the case, also noted that Mr Munir had “received two criminal convictions for similar offences”, although no further details were provided.


Read more: ‘Manipulated’ pharmacist suspended for dispensing fraudulent fentanyl scripts


The committee concluded that “the facts upon which the conviction rests demonstrate a lack of integrity that is not compatible with professional registration as a health care professional”.


It found Mr Munir’s fitness to practise impaired due to his conviction and decided that the “only appropriate order” was to remove Mr Munir from the register.


Read the full determination here.

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