Mr Dominic J Lambert

Profession: Paramedic

Registration Number: PA35921

Hearing Type: Interim Order Application

Date and Time of hearing: 12:00 08/06/2018 End: 16:00 08/06/2018

Location: Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service (HCPTS), 405 Kennington Road, London, SE11 4PT

Panel: Investigating committee
Outcome: Interim Suspension

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Allegation

No information currently available

Finding

Preliminary Matters

Application for the hearing to be in private


1. Mr Mason, on behalf of the HCPC, applied for the hearing to be held entirely in private pursuant to rule 8(1) of the Health Care and Professions Council (Investigating Committee) (Procedure) Rules 2003. Mr Mason submitted that there would be reference to contested criminal charges and if this hearing was conducted in public there would be a risk of prejudicing the criminal trial. He added that privacy was also justified to protect the Registrant’s private life.


2. The Registrant supported the application, stating that he was innocent of the criminal charges brought against him.


3. The Panel accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice and took account of the guidance in the HCPTS’s Practice Note “Conducting Hearings in Private”. The Panel determined that it would not be practicable to hold the hearing partly in private and therefore determined that the whole hearing should be heard in private because of the public interest in avoiding any risk of prejudicing the criminal trial and to protect the Registrant’s and the complainant’s private life. 

Application for Interim Order


4. Mr Mason applied for an Interim Order to be made pursuant to Article 32(1) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001, as amended. Mr Mason submitted that an Interim Order should be made as it was necessary to protect the public and otherwise in the public interest. The Registrant was charged with particularly serious offences which involved a very serious breach of trust because of the Registrant’s position at the time. There was therefore a current risk to the public that the Registrant could repeat this type of alleged behaviour in a position of trust as a Paramedic. He submitted that if the Panel were minded to impose an Interim Order, there were no appropriate, realistic, or verifiable Conditions of Practice that could be formulated to protect the public. In addition, he submitted that an informed member of the public would be shocked if the Registrant was permitted to practise without restriction given the gravity of the charges. On that basis, he submitted that an Interim Order was also justified in the wider public interest of maintaining the public’s confidence in the profession and its regulation.
 
5. The Registrant submitted that whilst he recognised that there was some force in Mr Mason’s submissions, he was innocent of the charges and he had not been found guilty at this point in time. 

6. The Panel considered all the guidance in the HCPTS Practice Note “Interim Orders” September 2017. The Panel accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice that its task was to carry out a risk assessment. The Panel recognised that it may make an Interim Order if the Panel is satisfied that it is necessary for the protection of the public, or is otherwise in the public interest, or in the interests of the Registrant. The Panel also recognised that if it considers that an Interim Order was necessary, it must apply the principle of proportionality, balancing the public interest with the Registrant’s own interests, and only impose an Interim Order that is sufficient to guard against the risk that the Panel has identified.

7. The Panel also accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice that, in accordance with the judgment of Davis J in R (on the application of Sosanya) v GMC [2009] EWHC 2814 (Admin):

“26. The statutory test is there, and that is the one to be applied. One would like, all the same, to think that in all these kinds of cases of potential interim suspension an interim orders panel would at least be asking itself, as part of its thought process, the following: will it be acceptable for us not to suspend in a case of this kind if at the end of the day the charges are proved and the guilt of the applicant is established? That is one aspect. Another part of the thought process should be: will it be acceptable for us to suspend an applicant in a case of this kind if, at the end of the day, the applicant may be acquitted of all charges? Those considerations should form at least part of the thinking of an interim orders panel, as it seems to me.”

8. The Panel carefully considered the information in this case. It recognised that these were only alleged offences at this time and they relate to a period a long time ago and prior to the Registrant becoming a Paramedic. However, these were charges of alleged criminal conduct at the most serious end of the spectrum and occurred when the Registrant was, as he would be now, in a position of trust if allowed to practise without restriction. The Panel was of the view that the type of criminal conduct alleged could not be considered as implicitly unlikely to arise again simply by reason of the passage of time without further allegations arising.

9. The Panel recognised that the Registrant might be acquitted of all charges at trial but this did not alter the fact that a risk of harm currently exists. The harm that could be done if the Registrant were to offend whilst practising as a Paramedic is so serious as to require an Interim Order to protect the public.

10. In addition, the Panel determined that there was a risk to the maintenance of the public’s confidence in the profession if no restriction were placed on the Registrant at this time and a proportionate response to that risk was to make an Interim Order.
 
11. Having determined that an Interim Order was necessary for the protection of the public and was otherwise in the public interest, the Panel first considered Conditions of Practice. Conditions of Practice needed to be workable, verifiable, practicable and be sufficient to address the concerns in the case. The Panel determined that it could not devise Conditions of Practice that would provide adequate protection to the public.

12. The Panel determined that the only sufficient and proportionate Interim Order is one of Suspension. That would be for a maximum period of 18 months given the fact that the HCPC investigation would take place after the impending criminal trial.

Order

ORDER: The Registrar is directed to suspend the registration of Mr Dominic J Lambert on an interim basis with immediate effect for a period of 18 months.

Notes

This Order will be reviewed by the Committee no later than 08 December 2018 or earlier if new evidence which is relevant to the Order becomes available after it was made.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr Dominic J Lambert

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
08/06/2018 Investigating committee Interim Order Application Interim Suspension