Zameer Abdul Majid Ghumra, registration number 2057494, was sentenced to six years in prison at Nottingham Crown Court in October last year for “dissemination of a terrorist publication”, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)’s fitness-to-practise committee heard at a hearing on March 2, 2018.
The GPhC noted that Mr Ghumra – who had no communication with the regulator in relation to the hearing – had “always denied the offence” and no disciplinary matters had been brought against him since he registered in 2003.
However, he had committed a “most shocking crime” that had inflicted “serious damage” to the reputation of pharmacy professionals, it stressed.
“Encourage the child to commit terrorism”
The GPhC was informed of the judge’s sentencing remarks, which stated the “jury was sure” that during the summer of 2014 Mr Ghumra had shown an eight-year-old boy an Isis propaganda video of a beheading.
The jury had also been sure “it was his intention to encourage the child to commit an act of terrorism...once he was old enough to do so”, the GPhC heard.
Judge Gregory Dickinson QC had said Mr Ghumra created Twitter accounts for the boy and his seven-year-old brother to follow “hate preachers” such as Anjem Choudary, the GPhC heard.
“Taught the boys how to throw a knife”
The judge had also said Mr Ghumra created business cards for the seven-year-old, which described the child as “a Palestine army general” alongside an image of an assault rifle, the GPhC heard.
“The evidence is [Mr Ghumra] taught the boys how to punch and kick, and to throw a knife” and “spoke of taking the boys to Syria”, the judge said in his remarks.
“Descent from a decent, hard-working man”
Judge Dickinson had acknowledged Mr Ghumra had no previous convictions, the regulator heard.
The judge also said: “I have read a number of references from family, friends [and] work associates which speak highly of him, and, in a sense, this defendant's descent from a decent, hard-working…man, to the conduct that the jury have heard about in this trial, may be yet another pernicious effect of extremism.”
The judge had noted Mr Ghumra’s “defence at trial was that these boys had been brainwashed by their mother and [another] in order to make a false complaint”.
However, the judge continued: “Sadly, it is clear to me from the defendant's evidence that, although he protests that he now sees Islamic State as wicked and Isis fighters as terrorists, he still clings on to some of his extreme views.”
“I venture to think it has also caused offence to the vast majority of decent, law abiding followers of the Islamic faith,” he added.
“Bringing profession into disrepute”
In reaching its determination, the GPhC noted Mr Ghumra’s offence was “not directly concerned with his profession as a pharmacist”.
However, it stressed that “Mr Ghumra has shown no remorse or insight whatsoever” and “has not engaged” in the fitness-to-practise process “in any way”.
The “only point that can be said on his behalf” is that since he registered as a pharmacist “there is no suggestion that any other disciplinary matters [have been] brought against him”, it said.
Mr Ghumra’s actions presented “a risk of actual harm to members of the public and he was “capable of bringing the profession into disrepute by undermining public confidence in pharmacy professionals”.
“Incompatible with fundamental principles of profession”
“The ideology of Isis is one which is incompatible with the fundamental principles of the pharmacy profession, which requires one to treat people of all faiths and lifestyles with respect. The registrant has by his actions breached one of the fundamental tenets of the profession,” the GPhC said.
The fitness-to-practise committee concluded that Mr Ghumra’s conduct was “fundamentally incompatible with continued registration as a pharmacist”, and ruled to strike him from the register.
Read the full determination here.