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Striking-off order after attempted theft

A pharmacist who attempted to steal a quantity of fragrance testers from the pharmacy where he worked has been handed a striking-off order by the fitness-to-practise committee of the General Pharmaceutical Council.

Sudhir Manilal Monji (registration number 2031792) appeared before the committee on 10 December 2013. Information had been received that on 24 September 2010, Mr Monji took some fragrance testers from a branch of Boots. The substance of the allegation against him was that he was attempting to steal these, although they were returned to the branch on Sunday 26 September 2010 because Mr Monji had been seen taking them and he knew that he had been seen.

Mr Monji was present at the hearing but was not represented.

Guy Micklewright, of counsel, instructed by Blake Lapthorn Solicitors, appeared on behalf of the GPhC.

The committee heard that Mr Monji had placed an order at head office for some fragrance testers on 22 September 2010. A second member of staff, responsible for beauty products, also placed an order for testers and what she ordered was delivered in two parts on 22 and 23 September. Mr Monji’s order was delivered on 24 September, a Friday.

The committee heard that by that time suspicions had already been aroused so the testers were deliberately left in a ground floor stock room and a Boots profit protection manager informed of this. Mr Monji was seen carrying trays that could have contained the testers from the back of the store to his car and, when he was confronted by the profit protection manager, he drove off in such a manner that his car and contents could not be examined. The testers were then found to be missing from the store.

Mr Monji then returned the testers on Sunday 26 September because, it was alleged, he knew he had been seen, and these were eventually found in the disabled toilet at the branch on Monday 27 September.

Mr Monji denied the allegations against him.

Giving the committee’s decision, the chairman, Christopher Gibson, QC, said that what Mr Monji was doing was dishonest, and he clearly knew it was dishonest because of the way that he reacted when the profit protection manager asked him to stop. “We find that he realised that he had been under observation by [the profit protection manager] and drove away past [him] aggressively to escape being caught red-handed with the testers in his car. And we find that he arranged for the return of the testers to the branch on the Sunday,” he said.

Not told the truth

He added: “It follows that we also find that Mr Monji has not told us the truth in this hearing but has lied to us and has falsely tried to discredit the Council’s witness in order to escape the consequences of what he did… . We have no hesitation in holding that Mr Monji has been guilty of serious misconduct in stealing or attempting to steal from his employers.”

The chairman went on: “Mr Monji shows no insight into the seriousness of his behaviour or remorse for it in that he has continued to deny it… . We believe that Mr Monji’s conduct is fundamentally incompatible with continued registration and our determination is that only removal from the Register can meet the seriousness of Mr Monji’s misconduct in order to maintain standards and confidence in the profession.”

He ordered Mr Monji’s immediate suspension from the Register pending the coming into force of the erasure order.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.11138828

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