Doctor appears at Ballymena Court and admits fraud

Ballymena Court

A JUDGE in Ballymena has adjourned sentencing regarding a doctor who committed fraud by false representation in a “breach of trust” whilst on holiday in Northern Ireland from the north east of England.

John McClelland (46), with an address listed as Featherstone Grove, Gosforth, in the Newcastle-upon-Tyne area, appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday where he had previously pleaded guilty.

The charge faced by John McClelland read that on August 17, 2018 he dishonestly made a false representation to an employee of a pharmacy ‘namely that you were another person entitled to write prescriptions’.

A prosecutor said the defendant had been to a pharmacy and said he was a doctor and began writing a prescription for items including codeine which he said was for a family member.

The court heard that at the time the doctor had been the subject of “restrictions” on writing prescriptions.

District Judge Nigel Broderick noted a pre-sentence report showed the doctor had a case involving “24 sample charges” mentioned at court in England.

A defence solicitor said at the time of the matter before Ballymena Court the doctor was in Northern Ireland on holiday to visit his mother and father who live in the Londonderry area.

The solicitor said the doctor was “totally ashamed” of what he had done.

He said the incident happened at a “low ebb” in the doctor’s life when he had a “large debt” and was suffering from chronic back pain.

Judge Broderick noted the doctor had an addiction issue.

He said it was a “breach of trust” case.

The judge adjourned the case to October saying he was not minded to send McClelland to prison as he was “engaged in rehabilitative work”.

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