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ARB committee went too far with suspension

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I read your news story 'ARB suspends member for indecent offences' (AJ 10.3.05) with incredulity. Responsibility for taking action in an alleged criminal act lies with the criminal justice system. This system did so, indicating, by a comparatively lenient sentence of eight months, that Stephen Manship's crime was on the periphery of serious child pornography cases. He has served his sentence and paid the penalty the court demanded.

His case has nothing to do with his professional competence or the reputation of the profession, and therefore with the ARB.

Yet the case has been brought before the board's professional conduct committee.

The ARB chairman, Michael Williams, is reported as saying that 'it was important to avoid punishing Manship twice', yet his committee promptly did so by suspending him from the ARB register for 18 months, so jeopardising his ability to find work. That is disgraceful.

Arthur Miller may be dead, but the hounding of individuals by the holier-than-thou citizenry, which he loathed, is with us still.

As an architect, I am only sorry that it is alive and well at the ARB.

Christopher Maquire, Newton, Cambridge

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