A dentist has won his appeal against the Dental Council of Trinidad and Tobago over a decision to suspend him for two weeks for allegedly breaching a prohibition against advertising on social media.Delivering a written judgement, late last week, High Court Judge Carol Gobin upheld Dr Dion Koonoolal’s case as she took issue with the procedure used by council to prosecute him and its findings in relation to four alleged disciplinary infractions levelled against him.The case dealt with the Dental Profession Act, which says that direct or indirect advertising or canvassing for the purpose of obtaining patients or promoting professional advantage is unprofessional conduct.However, the act permits dentists to publish brief notices on the start of their practices inclusive of their name and address.Between 2011 and 2016, the council sought legal advice on the applicability to social media and official guidelines were published in 2019.In January, last year, the council’s investigator contacted Dr Koonoolal, who runs Caribbean Smiles Dental Place in Cunupia, and warned him over alleged infractions.Almost two weeks later, he was officially reprimanded for failing to heed the investigator’s warning.Several months later, the council wrote to Dr Koonoolal and indicated that it would commence disciplinary proceedings against him for four alleged infractions.Two infractions were for allegedly posting celebrity endorsements and patient testimonials. He was also accused of hosting a promotion in which he gave out 2,000 surgical masks and of using a photograph of his clinic’s booth at a health fair to promote it.Dr Koonoolal was found guilty of all the infractions except the celebrity endorsements and was suspended for two weeks.He appealed the decision and obtained a stay against his suspension.In her judgement, Gobin criticised the council’s disciplinary process as she noted that it failed to present evidence against him before finding him guilty.“What transpired at the hearing constituted a significant departure from what any accused dentist could have reasonably expected having regard to the import of the language used in the advisories and guidelines,” Gobin said.“The procedure adopted by the DCTT effectively shifted the burden of proof to the Claimant with the result that it was fundamentally flawed and all findings which flowed from it were, as a consequence, illegal,” she added.As part of her judgement, Gobin set aside the council’s findings and Dr Koonoolal’s suspension. Dr Koonoolal was represented by Christopher Seuichand and Sonnel David-Longe, while Anthony Viera, Anil Maraj and Nicole de Verteuil-Milne represented the council.