An appeal by way of trial de novo from a decision of the Respondent Board of Dispensing Opticians finding the Appellant guilty of unprofessional conduct was dismissed. The Court accepted the customers’ evidence that the Appellant became upset and berated them when they were dissatisfied with lenses designed by the Appellant and held that this constituted unprofessional conduct. The Court also found that the Appellant was guilty of unprofessional conduct in attempting to influence the complaints process of the Board by threatening to withhold money owed to one of the customers unless he dropped his complaint. The penalty of a seven-week suspension imposed by the Board was appropriate and was confirmed by the Court.

28. March 2006 0

Administrative law – Judicial review – Decisions of administrative tribunals – Opticians – Disciplinary proceedings – Professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming – Penalties and suspensions

Carr v. Nova Scotia (Board of Dispensing Opticians), [2006] N.S.J. No. 10, Nova Scotia Supreme Court, January 12, 2006, D.L. MacLellan J.

An appeal was filed by J.C. from the decision of the Nova Scotia Board of Dispensing Opticians which found him guilty of two counts of unprofessional conduct and suspended his licence to practice for a period of seven weeks. The allegations were: (1) that J.C. had used inappropriate language and demonstrated an inappropriate attitude towards customers, and (2) that he had inappropriately attempted to influence the complaints process of the Board by being a party to the withholding of monies owed to the customer unless the customer agreed to withdraw his complaint before the Board.

The appeal proceeded by way of a trial de novo.

The Court preferred the evidence of the customers over the evidence of the J.C. It accepted that the customers had been treated in a rude and disrespectful manner by J.C. and that Board had proven allegation number one.

The Court further concluded that J.C. did attempt to have one of the customers withdraw his complaint in order to have his Small Claims Court judgment satisfied and that this constituted unprofessional conduct.

The Court concluded that it should show deference to the Board with respect to penalty and imposed the same penalty of seven weeks suspension of J.C.’s licence.

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