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On 19 September 2016, at South and East Cheshire Magistrates Court you were convicted of:
1. Assaulting Child A by beating on 27 February 2016.
2. By reason of your conviction as set out at paragraph 1 your Fitness to Practise as a Dietitian is impaired.
1. The Panel has been convened to undertake the substantive hearing of the allegation brought by the HCPC against the Registrant, Mr Richard Silvioli, that his fitness to practise as a Dietitian is impaired by reason of a conviction recorded against him.
2. The Registrant has attended this hearing and given evidence before the Panel. He has been represented by Ms Althea Brown of Counsel. The Presenting Officer has been Mr Mark Millin.
3. At the commencement of the hearing the Presenting Officer applied to amend the terms of the allegation by substituting the date 26 August 2016 for the date in the allegation referred to this Committee by the Investigating Committee, namely 19 September 2016. The reason for the error in the referred allegation is that 19 September 2016 was the day on which the Registrant was sentenced. His conviction was on 26 August 2018. No objection was made to the proposed amendment on behalf of the Registrant, and the Panel was satisfied that he would suffer no prejudice by it. Accordingly, the Panel acceded to the application to amend.
4. Another matter considered by the Panel before the case was opened was whether the hearing should proceed in public or be conducted in private. The Panel directed that the entire hearing should be conducted in private, that direction being necessary to ensure that there should be no publication of information that could lead to identification of the victim of assault. This is a public version of the Panel’s decision.
5. The allegation against the Registrant being one that his fitness to practise is impaired by reason of a conviction, in order to decide if that allegation is well-founded there were two matters for the Panel to consider, namely:
• Whether it has been proved against the Registrant that he was convicted as alleged.
• Whether the effect of the conviction is that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired.
6. The Registrant drove away from the scene of the incident but was traced by the registration plate of his vehicle. The further chronology relevant to the matter is as follows:
• On 29 February 2016, the Registrant was interviewed by the Police.
• On 22 April 2016, he was charged with the offence of “assault by beating” contrary to section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988. The Panel accepts that, despite the use of the word “beating” in the description of that offence, the offence would be committed by a common assault involving physical contact with the victim.
• When, on 27 April 2016, the Registrant first appeared in the Magistrates’ Court he entered a not guilty plea.
• The trial in the Magistrates’ Court concluded on 26 August 2016 with a finding that the Registrant was guilty of the offence with which he was charged. The case was adjourned for sentence.
• The Registrant was sentenced on 19 September 2016, when an 8 week term of imprisonment was imposed, suspended for 12 months. A supervision period of 12 months was imposed, with a requirement that the Registrant should undertake 100 hours of unpaid work during that period. Furthermore, costs and associated financial orders required him to pay £700.
• The Registrant lodged an appeal against the finding of the Magistrates’ Court. His appeal was listed to be heard in the Crown Court on 27 January 2017, but, by a letter dated 6 January 2017 sent by his Solicitors, he abandoned that appeal.
Decision on Facts and grounds
7. The only matter for the Panel to decide is whether the fact of the conviction has been proved.
8. The Registrant admitted the conviction. The Panel accepts his admission, finding that it accords with the documentary evidence produced by the HCPC.
9. Accordingly, the statutory ground is satisfied.
Decision on Impairment
10. In deciding on the issue of current impairment of fitness to practise, the Panel considered the issue from the point of view of both the personal and public components.
11. Having heard the Registrant give evidence, and having read his statement, the Panel accepts that the he has, over time, developed insight into the inappropriateness of his actions on 27 February 2016. Giving the matter very careful consideration, the Panel has concluded that there is no longer any appreciable risk that he would repeat similar behaviour. It follows that the Panel does not consider the Registrant’s fitness to be impaired upon consideration of the personal component.
12. However, when the Panel turned to consider the public component of impairment of fitness to practise, it found that there is current impairment. This is because fair-minded members of the public would consider that a Dietitian against whom such a conviction was recorded had tarnished the reputation of his profession, despite the Panel’s finding that it is unlikely to be repeated. The Panel is satisfied that it is necessary to reach a finding of current impairment of fitness to practise to declare that behaviour of the sort committed by the Registrant is unacceptable, despite the fact that it did not involve any aspect of his professional work.
13. The finding that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired has the consequence that the allegation is well founded. Accordingly, the Panel must proceed to consider the issue of sanction.
Decision on Sanction
14. After the Panel announced its decision that the allegation is well founded, it received submissions from the parties on the issue of sanction.
15. On behalf of the HCPC, the Presenting Officer drew the attention of the Panel to guidance relating to the proper principles governing the making of a decision about sanction. He also urged the Panel to have regard to the HCPC’s Indicative Sanctions Policy.
16. On behalf of the Registrant, Ms Brown submitted that the Panel could properly regard the fact that it had found the allegation to be well founded as a sufficient marker of the gravity of the matter, and thus not impose any sanction. Alternatively, she submitted that if the Panel did consider a sanction to be necessary, a Caution Order would be a sufficient response.
17. The Panel has approached the issue of sanction on the basis that a sanction must not be imposed to punish a registrant against whom a finding has been made. Rather, a sanction should only be imposed to the extent that it is required to protect the public and maintain a proper degree of confidence in the registered profession. The first question a Panel must answer is whether the finding on the allegation requires any sanction. If it does, then the available sanctions must be considered in an ascending order of seriousness until one is reached that satisfactorily addresses the issues of public protection and the maintenance of confidence. As the finding in the present case is that a conviction allegation is well founded, the entire sanction range up to, and including, striking off is available. The Panel confirms that it has adopted this approach and has had regard to the HCPC’s Indicative Sanctions Policy in reaching its decision.
18. The Panel first considered whether the reported authority of Fleischmann should influence its decision on the issue of sanction However, the Panel was satisfied that every aspect of the sentence imposed on the Registrant is now behind him, and thus any response that might otherwise be dictated by Fleischmann does not apply. Nevertheless, having carefully considered the matter, the Panel is satisfied that the seriousness of the finding does require the imposition of a sanction.
19. When turning to consider what sanction is required, the fact that the case did not call into question the Registrant’s skills and knowledge as a Dietitian coupled with the fact that the Panel has found that there is no appreciable risk of repetition, are very important. They mean that the Panel is satisfied that it was not necessary to consider a sanction in order to protect the public or potential service users from the risk of harm. However, those factors do not answer the important public interest considerations described by the Panel in its decision on current impairment of fitness to practise. The Panel concluded that a sanction is necessary to mark the fact that the regulator will take convictions of the sort recorded against the Registrant seriously, and by doing so, will declare and uphold proper standards to be observed by regulated professionals.
20. Taking all these factors into account the Panel concluded that the making of a Caution Order for a period of three years is a necessary but sufficient marker of the seriousness of the matter. The Panel is satisfied that in the light of the Panel’s findings in relation to insight and the risk of repetition, fully informed and fair-minded members of the public would consider such an order to be a sufficient response to the Panel’s findings.
You may appeal to the High Court in England and Wales against the Panel’s decision and the order it has made against you.
Under Articles 30(10) and 38 of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001, any appeal must be made to the court not more than 28 days after the date when this notice is served on you.
History of Hearings for Richard Silvioli
|Date||Panel||Hearing type||Outcomes / Status|
|16/03/2018||Conduct and Competence Committee||Final Hearing||Caution|