Mr David S Hall
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On 11 September 2017, at the Lincoln Magistrates Court, you were convicted of:
1. three charges of making an indecent photograph of a child.
2. one charge of possession of prohibited images of children.
3. By reason of your conviction as set out at paragraphs 1 and 2 your fitness to practise as a Radiographer is impaired.
1. The Registrant was neither present nor represented at the hearing. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant had been properly served with Notice of the hearing.
Proceeding in absence
2. Ms Manning-Rees, on behalf of the HCPC, applied to the Panel to proceed in the absence of the Registrant.
3. The Panel took into account the HCPTS Practice Note “Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant” and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.
4. The Panel noted that the Registrant had indicated on the Response Pro-Forma that he was not planning to attend or be represented at the hearing. Accordingly, the Panel concluded that he had voluntarily absented himself from the hearing. He had not applied for an adjournment or provided any information as to why the hearing should be adjourned. The Panel balanced the Registrant’s interests with the public interest in the expeditious determination of the case and decided that no useful purpose would be served by an adjournment and that it was in the interests of justice to proceed with the hearing in the absence of the Registrant.
5. The police received information that an indecent image of a child had been uploaded to the internet. As a result, on 16 January 2017, police officers executed a search warrant at the Registrant’s home and recovered a laptop.
6. Examination of the laptop revealed that it contained the following indecent images of children:
• 7 Category A images;
• 11 Category B Images;
• 50 Category C images;
• 5 uncategorised images.
7. The Registrant was arrested and interviewed by the police. He accepted that he was responsible for the images on the laptop and stated that he had been drawn to pornography since the internet started; initially adult pornography, but it then escalated. He stated that he downloaded and viewed the images when he was drunk and deleted them when he was sober. The Registrant told the police that he knew when he was sober what he was doing was wrong, but it had become a habit which he could not stop.
8. In his police interview the Registrant accepted that he had been looking at images for about eight years, although the Panel notes that the offences only relate to the period between 2013 and early 2017.
9. The Registrant was charged with three offences of making indecent images of children and one offence of possessing indecent images of children.
10. On 11 September 2017, at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court, the Registrant pleaded guilty to the four offences and he was committed for sentence to the Crown Court. On 6 October 2017, he was sentenced to 8 months imprisonment suspended for 12 months concurrent, and he was required to undertake a rehabilitation activity requirement for a maximum of 60 days. In addition, he was also subject to the Sex Offender Notification Requirements for a period of ten years, and a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for five years.
Decision on Facts
11. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. It recognised that the burden of proving the facts rests on the HCPC and the standard of proof required is the civil standard.
12. The Panel had regard to Rule 10(1)(d), which, in terms of the evidence required to prove a conviction, states, “where the registrant has been convicted of a criminal offence, a certified copy of the certificate of conviction (or, in Scotland, an extract conviction) shall be admissible as proof of that conviction and of the findings of fact upon which it was based”.
13. The Panel was provided with a copy of the Certificate of Conviction from the Lincoln Crown Court. In the Response Pro-Forma, the Registrant indicated that he admitted the facts. The Panel was therefore satisfied, to the required standard, that the facts were proved.
Decision on Grounds
14. The Panel next considered the statutory grounds. The Panel was satisfied that a conviction is one of the statutory grounds.
Decision on Impairment
15. The Panel is aware that a finding of impairment is a matter for the Panel’s professional judgment. The Panel took into account the relevant HCPTS Practice Notes relating to “Conviction and Caution Allegations” and “Finding that Fitness to Practise is ‘Impaired’” and it accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.
16. The criminal conviction in this case concerns the making and possession of indecent photographs of children. Such offences involve the exploitation, victimisation and re-victimisation of children. The number and type of offences indicates a systematic course of conduct. They are very serious offences. Apart from the fact that the Registrant pleaded guilty, the Panel is not aware of any mitigation offered on his behalf. The Panel has no evidence of insight or remorse on the part of the Registrant or that he has addressed the underlying causes of his conduct in any way. In the circumstances, there is likely to be a significant risk of repetition.
17. The Registrant’s conduct falls far below the required standards of his profession, demonstrates a complete lack of probity and integrity, and is such as to bring his profession into disrepute. The Panel has no doubt that public confidence in the profession and in the Regulator would be undermined if a finding of impairment were not made.
18. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired by reason of his conviction.
Decision on Sanction
19. In considering what sanction, if any, to impose, the Panel took account of the submissions made by Ms Manning-Rees on behalf of the HCPC. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and was guided by the HCPC “Indicative Sanctions Policy”.
20. The Panel carefully considered, in ascending order of seriousness, all the options available by way of disposal. The Registrant has been convicted of serious criminal offences of a sexual nature, involving the exploitation of children. He has not engaged with these proceedings, neither has he provided any mitigation, evidence of remorse, insight or remediation. Accordingly, there is a risk of repetition.
21. In these circumstances, there can be no question of taking no further action and a Caution Order would be entirely inadequate to reflect the seriousness of the Registrant’s conduct.
22. No Conditions of Practice could be formulated to address the nature of the Registrant’s conduct, which does not relate to his competence as a Radiographer but rather to his suitability to be a member of his profession and to be involved with members of the public in that capacity.
23. The Panel considered whether to make a Suspension Order, but decided that the nature of the Registrant’s conduct was such as to render him unfit to practise as a Radiographer and is fundamentally incompatible with his remaining on the Register. A Suspension Order would not adequately address the public interest concerns in this case. Additionally, the Panel has considered paragraph 20 of the HCPC Indicative Sanctions Policy, which states:
"…consideration needs to be given to any notification requirement under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Although inclusion on the sex offenders’ database is not a punishment, it is intended to secure public protection from those who have committed certain types of offences. Generally, Panels should regard it as incompatible with HCPC’s obligation to protect the public to allow a registrant to remain in or return to unrestricted practice whilst subject to a notification requirement as a sex offender.”
24. In this regard, the Panel notes that the Registrant is subject to a 10-year notification requirement with effect from 6 October 2017.
25. In all the circumstances, a Striking Off Order is the only sanction which is sufficient to protect the public and maintain confidence in the profession and the regulatory process.
That the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Mr David S Hall from the Register on the date this Order comes into effect.
History of Hearings for Mr David S Hall
|Date||Panel||Hearing type||Outcomes / Status|
|10/08/2018||Conduct and Competence Committee||Final Hearing||Struck off|