A PSYCHIATRIST hired by the Ministry of Justice to assess a former civil servant must face claims she made up a damning report into his mental health.

Lawyers for Dr Jane McLennan, a consultant in Edinburgh, argued that a fitness to practice case against her should be thrown out on the grounds that it was "inherently improbable" the psychiatrist would have distorted facts against the employee because she had "nothing to gain".

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At the time of the consultation in August 2014, Dr McLennan had been contracted as an expert witness by the MoJ to carry out an assessment on the man, known only as Mr A.

He was pursuing a disability discrimination claim against his former employers, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, an agency of the MoJ.

The Herald: Dr Jane McLennanDr Jane McLennan

Mr A, a former call handler on the CICA claims helpline in Glasgow, was dismissed for gross misconduct in May 2013. 

He claimed the complaints against him were fabricated by colleagues and managers who had harassed and victimised him for whistleblowing over alleged breaches in data protection, medical assessments and health and safety. 

He said had become sick with depression, irritable bowel syndrome chronic tension headaches as a direct result of his employment at CICA.

The case was rejected and Mr A eventually abandoned an appeal in August 2016.

However, Dr McLennan's report, which she stood by during evidence to his employment tribunal in January 2015, contains a number of now disputed observations including a claim that Mr A told her he "felt like hitting people at work" and secretly recorded conversations with clients.

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Dr McLennan’s lawyers said Mr A was an unreliable witness and a “stranger to the truth”.

They also criticised the submission into evidence of an audio recording of the consultation - covertly taped by Mr A on his smartphone and said to contradict several sections of her report – saying it was "difficult to understand" and occasionally inaudible.

However, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) has rejected attempts to have the case dropped and said evidence will resume in December.

On a number of counts, the MPTS said dishonesty by Dr McLennan was the "more probable" explanation for the contradictions between the audio recording and the psychiatric report.

If she is found to have lied, Dr McLennan - who has been an expert witness in a number of cases - may be struck off. The case could also raise wider questions about the reliance on expert medical testimonies in court.

The case is being brought against Dr McLennan by her professional body, the General Medical Council.

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It is understood that Mr A raised his complaint with the GMC after several attempts to have Dr McLennan investigated for alleged perjury by the police and Crown Office in Scotland failed.

The fitness to practice tribunal, which is being heard in Manchester, alleges that Dr McLennan acted dishonestly by attributing comments to Mr A which she knew he had not made, and then falsely maintained during the employment tribunal that her report was accurate.

The case was originally scheduled to be heard in March this year but became bogged down in legal argument and ran out of time.

It resumed on June 25 but was adjourned again without conclusion on July 6.

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The case hinges on 17 key passages in the psychiatric report allegedly not supported by the audio recording.

These include comments by Dr McLennan that Mr A "cursed freely" and that he referred to CICA clients as "these f***ing girning b*****ds".

She claimed he said he "kept recordings of conversations with them, to demonstrate the 'f***ing lies these f***ing b*****ds telt'".

Dr McLennan reported that Mr A "said he was always angry, felt like hitting people at work and it was very difficult to restrain himself."

She also claimed that he told her his conditions "did not disable him in any way". 

Lawyers for Dr McLennan, who denies misconduct, said she was "a doctor of good character with many years of experience and of impeccable standing".

She had no prior relationship with Mr A and "no reason to produce a dishonest report", whereas Mr A "saw conspiracies in everything that would deny him justice".

Referring to Mr A's audio recording of the consultation, Dr McLennan's lawyers said it was "of a poor quality and could not be wholly relied upon".

However, the MPTS panel said the inaudible parts of the recording "amount to only a very small percentage of the total recording", and described Mr A as a "reliable witness" who "maintained his composure and remained calm" throughout his evidence.

It also counted only eight expletives in the one hour 48 minute recording.

Dr McLennan is yet to testify and is under no obligation to do so.

The MPTS panel considered whether poor recollection due to inadequate notes or a delay of several weeks between the examination and completion of the psychiatric report were enough to explain the discrepancies between the audio and Dr McLennan's account.

The panel said it "did not consider that any of these explanations would be more probable than dishonesty at this stage, particularly in view of Dr McLennan's many years of experience and status as an expert witness."

Evidence will resume on December 10.