A GP who lied about possessing a heroin-type drug has avoided being struck off by the General Medical Council (GMC).
Dr Owen Rea can keep his registration but is not be allowed to treat patients or prescribe any drugs for three years.
The 45-year-old, who worked in Coleraine, was found to have a syringe and two empty ampoules of Cyclimorph when he was rushed to hospital in March 2005.
He claimed the class A drug had been given to a patient, but later admitted destroying it himself in a bid to cover up the possession.
Coleraine magistrates fined him £750 for possessing the drug and making false statements.
Dr Rea told the GMC Fitness to Practise hearing in Manchester he was "deeply ashamed" of his convictions.
The panel found his fitness to practise was impaired because of his conviction and his adverse physical or mental health.
Imposing a host of conditions on his registration for the next three years, the panel said: "There is no question of direct patient harm in this case.
"The panel concluded that your acceptance that you will never treat another patient coupled with all the steps you have taken to remediate yourself are sufficient to protect the public interest."
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