A consultant lost his job at an NHS hospital after carrying a sample of HIV-infected blood in his hand luggage while flying from Africa to the UK, a High Court judge has heard.
Tubonye Harry - who was a genito-urinary specialist at the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston, Norfolk - was returning from Nigeria, where he did private work, Mr Justice Burnett was told.
The judge said the sample should have been packed in the aircraft's hold and Dr Harry had breached regulations designed to prevent passengers being exposed to infection.
Dr Harry had also broken rules by opening a package containing the sample at home instead of in a laboratory, the judge added. He was dismissed by James Paget bosses earlier this year.
Details of the case emerged as Mr Justice Burnett ruled on a dispute between Dr Harry and the General Medical Council (GMC) - which registers doctors - at a High Court hearing in London.
Dr Harry, who also faced a number of other allegations relating to his work, has been suspended pending the outcome of GMC disciplinary proceedings, the judge was told. But he argued that the GMC's 18-month interim suspension was unfair and unnecessary - and the judge agreed.
Mr Justice Burnett terminated the suspension, which prevented Harry from seeking alternative work, saying it was "disproportionate".
The judge said Dr Harry had also been accused of failing to "properly insulate" NHS work from private work. He said it was also alleged that, when confronted with a suggestion that he was using NHS resources for private patients, Dr Harry had asked a member of staff to "amend the paperwork".
Mr Justice Burnett said the interim orders panel of the GMC had suspended Dr Harry in April. But he concluded that the suspension was "heavy handed", adding: "In my judgment, there was no real risk to members of the public in Dr Harry's continuing to practise."
Mr Justice Burnett outlined detail of the case in a written ruling handed down on Friday following a hearing in September.