A doctor suspended after a female patient sprouted facial hair during treatment for a nasal allergy is fighting against his punishment, claiming Medical Council members were 'too tired and irritable' at the end of a 14-hour disciplinary hearing. Gerard McCoy, SC, counsel for Dr Hui Yat-ming, 31, argued before the Court of Appeal yesterday that 'the appearance of justice was sullied by the length of the hearing', which produced 320 pages of transcript in one day. In February, Dr Hui was suspended for one year for professional misconduct for prescribing the steroid dexamethasone to teacher Kitty Hung, 26, on three occasions in 1999 without proper justification or monitoring of side effects. As part of the misconduct charge, Dr Hui was also accused of improper labelling of the drugs, failing to tell a patient about possible side effects and keeping improper medical notes. Mr McCoy said yesterday: 'A tired tribunal is one that is not safely able to reach a determination, particularly where a person's career and reputation are on the line.' Juries were required to stop deliberating at 8pm, Mr McCoy said, because 'after that, at the end of a long day, justice cannot be seen to be done'. Ms Hung's case came to light in January last year when she approached the Sunday Morning Post, which commissioned tests on the pills and found they were dexamethasone instead of the antihistamine eurodane, as she said she had been told. Mr McCoy said Dr Hui's penalty was harsh because his honesty had been put into question over his notes, even though his honesty was not on trial. 'What was all a matter of record-keeping was transformed by questioning into a very clear situation of dishonesty,' he said. Dr Hui had recorded in his notes that the patient had reported no discomfort on July 1, 1999, when he had not assessed Ms Hung that day. But Michael Lunn, SC, for the Medical Council, said the case was simple. 'The real issue is whether he prescribed dexamethasone or not,' he said. 'Here, the evidence was unambiguous.' Mr Lunn said the defence counsel had agreed to allow the case to proceed until after 11pm. 'It might be appropriate for Your Lordships to give future guidance to the tribunals on this matter, but in this case, it was reached with consultation to the parties,' he said. Mr Justice Simon Mayo, Mr Justice Conrad Seagroatt and Mr Justice Peter Cheung Chak-yau reserved judgment.