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Medical student ‘struck off’ before he even started – because of a Facebook post

A fourth-year medical student at Leicester University, Mr Ravindu Thilakawardhana, has been deemed unfit to practice medicine by the University, after making comments on Facebook towards someone who had annoyed him, the Independent tells us. It appears that he will not be permitted to complete his degrees and graduate, quite a long way down the line too.

Ravindu Thilakawardhana, who was in his fourth year studying medicine at the University of Leicester, became furious when a fellow student posted explicit pictures of his friend onto the social networking site.

Mr Thilakawardhana retorted with a photo of the actor Liam Neeson accompanied by the words: “I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you,” the Leicester Mercury reports.

He later sent a private message to the student saying: “I don’t want to see you on a night out in Leicester, or in the UK.”

The student reported Mr Thilakawardhana to the medical school who reprimanded him, before deeming him “unfit to practice medicine”.

The matter is going to law, with Mr Thilakawardhana taking legal action in the hope of having his sanction overturned.

There has been no criminal conviction (not even a prosecution) of Mr Thilakawardhana over his action, and yet his career is effectively ruined, as things stand, because of an intemperate post. This has all the hallmarks of a grotesque reaction to me.

How many other medical students might be barred from the closed shop profession for expressing attitudes that render them ‘unfit to practice medicine’? How wide might this ‘catch-all’ classification extend? Has all common sense left the University? (Yes, I know, by definition…) Is this not tyrannical, with echoes of Dr Bonham?

14 comments to Medical student ‘struck off’ before he even started – because of a Facebook post

  • Irritable Farmer

    Indeed he is unfit to “practice medicine” or any other discipline dealing with the public, animal, and another human being. His words are that of a potential killer. Simply put this person is just mentally unfit, period.

  • Stonyground

    Well maybe IF, but was he really making death threats or was he just quoting a movie script?

  • Mr Ed

    He’s hardly Harold Shipman, the celebrated Guardian reader, on the basis of a comment posted on Facebook, is he?

  • patriarchal landmine

    when this diseased civilization comes apart, we will be glad for men like him, who got the training we will need to stitch up all the minutemen who keep us safe from the raiders and super mutants and synths.

  • If I understand correctly, Mr Thilakawardhana was angered by another student’s posting explicit photos of ‘his’, i.e. Mr Thilakawardhana’s, friend, that is, the other student was guilty of malicious sexual humiliation of a student with whom Mr Thilakawardhana sympathised. (That seems the correct reading of the article; the literal English _could_ mean that Mr Thilakawardhana was merely angered that the other student posted explicit pictures of the other student’s friend, possibly with said friend’s consent.)

    I would not wish to be cared for by a doctor who regarded humiliating people as good fun, or a small matter. It _may_ be Mr Thilakawardhana’s anger is human, understandable, even indicates a desirable degree of empathy and sympathy for a victim.

    Of course, posting a film quote that is literally a death threat is likely to see you being asked for an assurance that you did not literally mean it. If Mr Thilakawardhana’s past behaviour is gentle and caring when no victimised friend is involved, I’d accept it. If, on the other hand, his post was merely the latest of several death threats or thuggish acts that had not previously reached the law, I’d think otherwise. Did the judge ignore witnesses of character he was able to bring? Did the victimised friend offer to testify on his behalf?

    Generally, we all need to worry about student careers being destroyed for one post. I think we all know how that will be used politically if it is normalised. As against that, we can see in the US what a campus can be like if threatening students are impossible for faculty to discipline. I’d like to know more before deciding quite what’s going on here.

    Of course, justly or unjustly, Mr Thilakawardhana could game the system. Tp paraphrase a ‘Not The Nine o’ Clock News’ sketch, would I be right in thinking that Mr Thilakawardhana is a coloured gentleman? I don’t think the judge will get away with replying, “I can’t say as I’ve noticed”. If the student who complained were white, it might be Mr Thilakawardhana most effective, if most despicable, tactic. Two wrongs would then make an even more politically-correct world.

    Although Coke’s dictum in Dr Bonham is long dead (and having seen what the European Human Wrongs act has done to us, I’m all for restoring parliamentary sovereignty as a better state than the one we’re in), the very basics of our constitution remain outside parliamentary sovereignty. (Logically, I mean; as Burke remarks, the limits of what mere mere arbitrary power could get away with are another matter.) It is a rule of common law that the common law courts interpret acts of parliament as laws, and obviously no act of parliament ever created that or can change it – the courts would have to _already_ treat acts of parliament as laws in order to regard any such act as a law. This is part of a fairly small constitution framework that dates from time immemorial. (That means from 1139 and earlier, if I recall rightly; in English law, time memorial starts in 1140, or it may be 1141 – I don’t recall exactly. 🙂 ) The courts therefore have a theoretical freedom to nullify acts of parliament that wholly subvert the very basics of separated powers, existence of monarch and parliament, etc., since that would also subvert the pre-parliamentary rule that they treat parliament’s acts as laws. (Not quite the ready sword Excalibur in defence of our liberties, but it’s what our history gives us.)

  • Paul Marks

    As Niall K. and Mr Ed will know….

    Dr Bonham’s case was (in part – the part the modern law books like to leave out) about Chief Justice Sir Edward Coke ruling that the Common Law knew no such “crime” as practicing medicine without a piece of paper called a “license” or “qualification”.

    To the Common Law a crime was an actual violation of the body or goods of others.

    People are within their Common Law rights to say “do not go person for medical treatment – he is an unstable monster!”.

    But they have no right to prevent someone practicing medicine because of some heated words.

    Internet chatter is largely waffle.

    I get death threats almost every day – and I am still alive (which actually rather saddens me).

    The idea that some bit of “keyboard rage” is crime worthy of ruining someone’s life’s work is clearly madness.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Frivolous of me, I know, but with that name, and that profession, I wonder what his signature looks like.

    Well, he can always go to work recording earthquakes.

  • John Galt III

    No worries, he can be an abortionist in Iran, Iraq, Syria – any other Muslim country – take your pick.

  • bobby b


    It is indeed a famous Liam Neeson quote, as should have been obvious to the Board from the inclusion of the photo.

    I think it was nice of him to post such a warning after seeing his friend victimized by the sad sack of shyte who made the complaint. Myself, I would have been tempted to simply find the person and communicate to him the depths of his depravity in person. We rely on “authority” for far too much.

  • thefrollickingmole

    Lets not forget many medical training unis also pre-vet their intake to remove wrong-thinkers.
    Whos a wrong-thinker is suitably vague, but id be guessing turning up with a “F**K Jeremy Corbin” button on your lapel would be a potential career changer more than a similar button about Ms Thatcher.

  • JDN

    It could be worse. He could be an AGW sceptic.

  • Laird

    Frankly, I can’t get too worked up over this. It seems to me that anyone who desires to go into the practice of medicine in the UK under the current system is an overt statist and thus presumptively “unfit” to begin with. (We’ve almost gotten to that point in the US as well, but there yet remains a smidgeon of hope.)

  • Rob

    How many people would he have to actually kill through malpractice to be struck off (assuming he had become an actual doctor)?

  • Surellin

    Use of social networks looks like a worse and worse idea to me. I will strongly suggest to my teenage son that he avoid Facebook, Twitter, etc. – at least until he is safely out of university.