A GP accused of trying to administer a poisonous substance to his mother’s partner would be prepared to admit unlawful wounding/causing grievous bodily harm, a court heard today (Mon May 20).

But Dr Thomas Kwan remains accused of attempting to murder 70-year-old Patrick O’Hara, who was rendered seriously ill after the incident on January 22, and the defendant’s legal team is still considering seeking to have that more serious charge dismissed at a further pre-trial hearing.

Newcastle Crown Court heard today (Monday May 20) that due to the “complexities” of the police investigation, the trial date, previously fixed to start on July 29, has now been put back until October 2 this year, with a ten-day time estimate.

Dr Kwan’s arrest in February triggered a full-scale search of the defendant’s large detached house in Ingleby Barwick, on Teesside, by the emergency services, many of whom wore specialist protective equipment.

The Northern Echo: Massive police presence backed by other emergency services during the search at Dr Kwan's home in

Police at the time confirmed the alleged victim was not one of Dr Kwan’s patients, at the Happy House Surgery, in Sunderland, and that the alleged crime took place in the Newcastle area.

No charges were put to Dr Kwan at a first appearance before the Recorder of Newcastle, Judge Paul Sloan, in March, or at today’s further case management hearing, at which the 53-year-old defendant appeared via video link from HMP Hull, where he is remanded in custody.

But, asked if Dr Kwan would be prepared to admit any criminal conduct arising from the incident, his counsel, Paul Greaney, told Judge Sloan: “He admits he’s the person who injected Mr O’Hara with the substance and admits his conduct was unlawful, and an assault, and serious injury was sustained by Mr O’Hara, and was unintended.

“He will be prepared to plead guilty to unlawful wounding.”

Judge Sloan said appropriate credit would be given to the defendant for indicating his guilt to that offence, in due course.

As a result of the complex inquiries, and the moving back of the trial, other elements of the case timetable were also adjusted at today’s hearing.

The Northern Echo:

Any outstanding prosecution evidence must be submitted by June 17, while Dr Kwan’s defence statement must be provided to the court by July 29, the original trial date.

A further case management (FCM) hearing will now take place on August 7, when an application to dismiss the attempted murder charge can also be made if that remains the defence’s wish.

Judge Sloan said a pre-trial review will follow on September 10.

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Adjourning the hearing until the August 7 FCM, Judge Sloan told Dr Kwan: “You have indicated you would be willing to plead ‘guilty’ to a lesser offence of causing grievous bodily harm.

“If you have committed any further offence arising from the allegations, then the sooner you do so, the better for you and the less severe the penalty will be.”

Dr Kwan was remanded to remain in custody from where he will also appear via video link for the two pre-trial hearings.