Mr Andrew O'Grady

Profession: Occupational therapist

Registration Number: OT57753

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 23/03/2016 End: 12:30 23/03/2016

Location: Health and Care Professions Council, 405 Kennington Road, London, SE11 4PT

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: No further action

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Allegation

While registered as an Occupational Therapist.

 

1. On 21 January 2014 at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court you were convicted of assaulting Person A by beating her on 7 July 2013 at Cheltenham in the county of Gloucestershire contrary to section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988.

2. By reason of your conviction, your fitness to practise is impaired.

Finding

Decision:
1. The Panel has been convened to undertake a review of a substantive suspension order imposed on 25 June 2015.
2. Mr O’Grady has attended this hearing at which he has been accompanied by a friend but not represented. Mr Rory Byrne has presented the case on behalf of the HCPC.
3. On 25 June 2015 another Panel of this Committee determined to be well founded an allegation that Mr O’Grady’s fitness to practise was impaired by reason of a conviction that had been recorded against him by the Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court on 21 January 2014. The conviction was for an offence of assault by beating contrary to section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988. The circumstances of that offence were that in the early hours of 7 July 2013 a group of three female friends were on a night out in Cheltenham. After leaving a night club there was an altercation between one member of that group and Mr O’Grady. Mr O’Grady kicked the woman, causing her to fall over, and then kicked her again when she was on the ground. As a result of the assault the woman sustained a sore hip and a small scratch on her right hand. Mr O’Grady denied the offence but was convicted on the date stated. The sentence imposed was a Community Order for a period of 12 months with a requirement to undertake 150 hours of unpaid work.  Various consequential financial orders were also made.
4. At the final hearing held on 25 June 2015 Mr O’Grady accepted that he had been convicted but did not accept that he had been correctly convicted. In deciding that the appropriate sanction was a suspension order, the final hearing panel stated that it would demonstrate to Mr O’Grady and the public that his behaviour was unacceptable. As to the length of the suspension order, the final hearing Panel decided that a period of 9 months was appropriate and proportionate.
5. In undertaking this review, it is necessary for the Panel first to consider whether the conviction is still impairing Mr O’Grady’s fitness to practise. If it is decided that there is ongoing impairment of fitness to practise, then it will be necessary for the Panel to decide on the appropriate sanction response to that finding. In making such a decision the usual principles applying to the imposition of a sanction will apply. As to the powers available to the Panel today, all of the sanction options available on 25 June 2015 are available. As the finding is based on a conviction allegation, the sanction range extends to, and includes, the making of a striking-off order.
6. The Presenting Officer, Mr Byrne, informed the Panel that the HCPC’s position was one of neutrality, by which he meant that the HCPC did not positively urge the Panel to find that Mr O’Grady’s fitness to practise is still impaired, and, if the Panel decided that it was, the HCPC would not urge the imposition of any particular sanction.
7. After careful consideration of all the relevant factors, which include the evidence given by Mr O’Grady today, the Panel has concluded that Mr O’Grady’s fitness to practise will no longer be impaired when the present period of suspension ends. The reasons for this decision are as follows:
• Although the members of the present Panel did not sit on the final hearing on 25 June 2015, it is apparent from the determination on that occasion that Mr O’Grady’s demeanour generally, and attitude towards the conviction specifically, caused that Panel to doubt the fullness of his remorse and insight. Having heard Mr O’Grady’s evidence today, the present Panel accepts as genuine not only his apology for his attitude at the earlier hearing, but also his acceptance that he did wrong in acting as he did in the fracas on 7 July 2013.
• Mr O’Grady’s present acceptance of wrongdoing needs to be taken in conjunction with the fact that the matter came to the knowledge of the HCPC as a result of Mr O’Grady’s self-referral.
• Mr O’Grady also has a strong network of supportive family and friends who can be turned to in the event of stressful events occurring in the future.
• Accordingly, the Panel does not consider that at the present time Mr O’Grady’s fitness to practise is impaired upon consideration of the personal component.
• Turning to the public component of impairment of fitness to practise, the Panel is clear that the public need to be reassured that behaviour of the sort proved against Mr O’Grady will not be overlooked by the regulator, and registrants need to be warned of the risk they run if they behave in a like manner. However, the Panel is satisfied that suspension for 9 months is a sanction response that is both necessary and sufficient for these purposes, and that when it is concluded no further sanction is required to mark the seriousness of the matter. 
8. The effect of the finding is that the Panel has decided that no further sanction is required upon the expiry of the present period of suspension which is due to end on 23 April 2016. The Panel has not overlooked the advice it received during the hearing that it has the power to order the immediate revocation of the suspension order, but it has decided that the order should be left to run for the remainder of its term. This is because of the Panel’s finding that the a suspension of the length imposed was required to reassure the public that matters of the sort involved in this case are taken seriously by the HCPC. In addition, this will provide the start of a period during which Mr O’Grady can plan and implement his return to practice.

Order

The Registrar is directed to revoke the Suspension Order on the registration of Mr Andrew O’Grady from the date this order comes into effect (23 April 2016).

Notes

No notes available

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr Andrew O'Grady

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
23/03/2016 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing No further action
25/06/2015 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Suspended