A justice of the High Court in London has ruled that the Farriers Registration Council (FRC) went too far in removing the Queen’s farrier from the Register of Farriers for using abusive language and bullying an apprentice.
The Disciplinary Committee will now reconvene “at the earliest date convenient to all parties” to “reconsider the issue of sanction,” against Stuart Craig, according to the FRC.
Craig was removed from the register June 30, 2016, after the committee found that he had committed “serious professional conduct” for using abusive language, as well as bullying, intimidating and harassing Joseph Hopkins, his apprentice. Craig denies Hopkins’ claims that he bullied or used abusive language toward his apprentice.
The long-time farrier appealed the committee’s decision to ban him from practicing hoof care on five grounds:
• Inconsistent findings by the disciplinary committee.
• The findings of the disciplinary committee in 2003.
• The appellant (Craig) was an unreliable witness.
• Rejection of the evidence of five third party witnesses called by the appellant.
Justice Stephen Morris found merit in the final point.
“The appellant is a competent and experienced farrier and the sanction imposed deprives him of his ability to earn his living, at least in so far as it is earned from that profession,” Morris is quoted by getreading.co.uk. “To impose such a sanction is a draconian step.”
Rather than barring Craig from performing his duties as a farrier, the committee could have prevented him from training apprentices, Morris states.
“In this care,” Morris says, “I do not accept that the public interest and the reputation of the profession necessarily required removal from the register.”