Ranked as a “Rising Star” Inquests and Inquiries in The Legal 500 (2021)
“on a solid foundation of representing clients throughout his distinguished career as a solicitor Mr Connolly has moved seamlessly to the bar to deliver the same high quality of work. His knowledge in healthcare ensures a wealth of instructions. He has a confident yet amenable approach in court. A very capable advocate indeed” Legal 500 2021
Simon has practised as a healthcare and professional regulatory lawyer for over a decade, during which time he has represented doctors, nurses, pharmacists and osteopaths in criminal investigations and proceedings and in fitness to practise proceedings before professional (GMC-MPTS/ GDC/ GPhC/ GOsC) and local (NHSE) regulatory bodies and in employment disciplinary investigations and proceedings (MHPS).
Much of Simon’s regulatory work has stemmed from his involvement in prior proceedings where, for example, he has represented the professional at an inquest or during a police investigation or criminal prosecution. Simon has regularly been instructed in regulatory cases with a quasi-criminal dimension involving allegations of sexual misconduct which would equally constitute a criminal offence.
Simon relies upon his extensive experience to analyse and understand how and why allegations against healthcare professionals arise and to devise the most appropriate strategy to defeat or diffuse them. His clinical knowledge and uncomplicated approach does much to gain the confidence of his clients generally and, when necessary, to accept and follow seemingly counter-intuitive advice to adopt a favourable, longer-term case strategy.
Dr A: Simon represented an FY2 doctor who was criminally prosecuted for allegedly sexually assaulting two elderly female complainants during consultations which took place in his final (although his first non-hospital-based) rotation. The jury acquitted the defendant within an hour of deliberating. Simon also represented the doctor throughout concurrent GMC proceedings which included appearances before the IOT. Simon was successful in persuading the GMC’s Case Examiners to conclude the case with no further action at Rule 7 stage.
Dr L: Simon represented a Consultant Gastroenterologist who faced an allegation of sexual assault which allegedly occurred during a colonoscopy procedure when the complainant was sedated, with the procedure having been observed by three attending nurses. Simon represented the doctor at his police interview and then successfully persuaded the GMC to withdraw its IOT referral on the basis of the overwhelming evidence that nothing untoward had occurred. The police and GMC investigations were concluded in the doctor’s favour shortly thereafter.
Dr H: Simon represented a Consultant Psychiatrist in a police investigation concerning the death of a patient who had been diagnosed with EUPD and who took her own life hours after her release from a mental health unit having indicated her alleged intention to do so at the time of discharge.
Dr DP: Simon represented an SpR Intensivist during a police investigation relating to an offence of gross negligence manslaughter following an incident of medical misadventure which caused a fatal cardiac arrest. Simon acted in the subsequent inquest proceedings in which his client was criticised by the Coroner and in the consequent GMC investigation which concluded with the doctor’s acceptance of a warning.
Dr B: Simon represented a GP in proceedings before the MPT concerning an alleged sexual assault of a female patient which was said to have occurred during a routine chest examination. The complainant’s account was sufficiently discredited that the MPT acceded to a submission of “no case to answer” during Stage One.
Dr O: Simon represented the brother of a (then) highly prominent member of the government in proceedings before the MPT which concluded with his suspension.
Mr P: Simon represented a pharmacist who was investigated by the police in relation to an offence of gross negligence manslaughter following a prescription error. The pharmacist was not prosecuted.
Dr A: Simon represented a dual-qualified rheumatologist and osteopath who was investigated by the police, his employing Trusts, the GMC and the GOsC in relation to a complaint of sexual assault which, Simon argued, was explained by the complainant’s unfamiliarity with Simon’s client and his enhanced qualifications and experience and by a breakdown in communication during the relevant consultation. Simon’s client was not prosecuted by the police. He accepted a warning from the GMC and a low level sanction at the GOsC.
Dr S: Simon represented a consultant histopathologist who faced proceedings before the MPT following criticism from a Coroner of a post-mortem examination which required further investigation involving the exhumation of the deceased. Many of the allegations against Simon’s client were successfully refuted at Stage One. Those which were admitted or proven were found not to impair the doctor’s fitness to practise.
Dr DB v GMC (2016) EWHC 2331 (QB): Simon acted for Dr DB in the High Court and in the subsequent Court of Appeal proceedings in challenging a decision of the GMC to release an expert report commissioned during a fitness to practise investigation to a complainant who intended to use that report to further a clinical negligence claim.