Mr Carl Gordon Riley

Profession: Social worker

Registration Number: SW34060

Interim Order: Imposed on 15 Mar 2018

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 29/07/2019 End: 17:00 02/08/2019

Location: 405 Kennington Road, London, SE11 4PT

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Struck off

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Allegation

Whilst registered as a Social Worker with the Health and Care Professions
Council:

1. Between October 2017 and December 2017, you sent inappropriate and/or
unprofessional text messages to Service User X.

2. On 30th November 2017, you touched Service User X's hips.

3. You did not declare that you were subject to a HCPC Caution Order when
seeking work as a Social Worker with Derbyshire County Council.

4. Between 19 March 2018 and 9 April 2018, you worked as a Social Worker
whilst subject to a HCPC Interim Suspension Order.

5. Your actions at paragraphs 1 - 2 were sexually motivated.

6. Your conduct in paragraphs 3 - 4 was dishonest.

7. The matters set out at paragraphs 1 - 6 amount to misconduct.

8. By reason of your misconduct, your fitness to practice is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary Matters


Service of Notice of Hearing


1. The Panel had sight of information that Notice of today’s hearing dated 10 May 2019 was sent on that date to the Registrant’s registered address by first class post. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and was satisfied that service had been effected in accordance with Rules 3 and 6 of the Health and Care Professions Council (Conduct and Competence Committee) (Procedure) Rules 2003 (the Rules).


Proceeding in Absence


2. Ms Sheridan, on behalf of the HCPC, applied for the hearing to proceed in the Registrant’s absence. Ms Sheridan referred to an email from the Registrant dated 31 March 2019 in which he stated:


 “I will not be attending any hearing at the HCPC on this matter but enclose an attached statement for the subsequent hearing to be read and considered as part of evidence in question.”


3. The Panel took into account the HCPTS Practice Note entitled “Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant” and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel was aware that the discretion to proceed in the absence of a Registrant should be exercised with the utmost care and caution. The Panel was of the view that the Registrant had given a clear indication that he would not be attending. The Panel considered that the Registrant has voluntarily chosen to absent himself from this hearing. There is no indication that an adjournment would secure the Registrant’s attendance at a future date nor has he requested a postponement of today’s hearing. The Panel took into account that the potential disadvantage to the Registrant if it were to proceed. However, taking into account the position taken by the Registrant, as well as his request for his statement to be considered in his absence, the Panel was satisfied that it is in the public interest, as well as being fair to the Registrant, for today’s hearing to proceed expeditiously.


4.   The Panel therefore decided to proceed today.


Application to amend the Allegation


5. Ms Sheridan applied to amend Particular 2 of the Allegation to add the words “and/or stomach area after the word “hips”. Ms Sheridan submitted that this is a minor amendment, reflects the evidence of Service User X (SUX), and is not a wholly new allegation. Ms Sheridan also informed the Panel that the HCPC had made the Registrant aware of its intention to make this application by letter dated 12 March 2019, which, she submitted, had given him ample time to prepare his response.


6. The Panel was of the view that the proposed amendment does expand  Particular 2, and therefore may cause the Registrant prejudice as a consequence. However, the Panel took into account that the proposed amendment does reflect the evidence within the HCPC bundle, and the Registrant has not objected to this course of action. In light of these factors, as well as the period of notice (approximately four months) given to the Registrant of this application, the Panel was satisfied that it is reasonable and fair to allow the amendment.


7. The Panel therefore decide to accede to the application.


Application for evidence by video link


8. Ms Sheridan applied pursuant to Rule 10A of the Rules for SUX to give her evidence by video link as she submitted, this would enable SUX could give her best evidence while allowing the Panel to see and hear her.


9. Ms Sheridan referred to an email received from SUX’s social worker dated 24 July 2019 which made a request for SUX to give her evidence by video link.


10. In reaching a decision, the Panel took into account Rule 10A(1) which states that a Panel may, if the quality of their evidence is likely to be adversely affected as a result, treat a witness as a vulnerable witness, where the allegation against the practitioner is of a sexual nature and the witness was the alleged victim.  Rule 10A(2) provides that the Panel may adopt such measures as it considers desirable to enable it to receive evidence from a vulnerable witness.


11. The Panel took into account the email from SUX’s social worker dated 24 July 2019. The Panel also considered an email sent to the Registrant by the HCPC dated 25 July 2019 informing him that there will be an application for SUX to give evidence by video link. The Panel understands that the Registrant has not objected to this. The Panel also took into account that the HCPC has previously successfully applied for SUX to give evidence at the hearing with the use of screens.


12. In the circumstances, the Panel decided that it would accede to the application. Video link would enable SUX to give her best evidence. The Panel was satisfied that no unfairness would be caused to the Registrant as a result.


13.  The Panel therefore decided to accede to the HCPC’s application.


Background


14. The Registrant is a registered Social Worker. At the relevant time, he was employed as an agency Social Worker within the 0-12 Care and Support Team. He was responsible for Looked After Children and attending court for family care proceedings. He also attended reviews and was involved in the care and support of children.


15. Whilst employed by Dorset County Council between June 2017 and December 2017, the Registrant was the allocated social worker to Service User X’s children who were the subject of a Special Guardianship Order, which resulted in the children living in a different country. The children  were returned to the UK, and the Registrant was involved in care proceedings in the court in the UK in respect of the children. The Registrant was responsible for progressing the case through the court and writing assessments about SUX’s ability to have the children returned to her care.


Decision on Facts


16. The Panel heard live evidence from a number of HCPC witnesses: JW, Operational Manager for the 0-12 Care and Support Team at Dorset County Council, SUX, and AG, Head of Child Protection and Independent Reviewing Officer at Derbyshire County Council.


17. The Panel was also provided with the written statement of HJK, Case Manager at the HCPC.


18. The Panel has carefully considered all the written and oral evidence presented in this case including the written submissions of the Registrant dated 30 March 2019.


19. The Panel was of the view that, broadly speaking, SUX was a credible and articulate witness. The Panel considered that there were some inconsistencies in parts of her evidence, for example whether the Registrant touched her skin or on top of her vest. In her oral evidence she stated that the Registrant touched her skin. However, this was not in her witness statement nor was this recorded by JW in her contemporaneous notes of a meeting with SUX on 11 December 2017. However, the Panel considered that it is likely that such inconsistencies are as the result of the passage of time and the impact on her memory and are not of such significance that they impacted upon SUX’s overall credibility.


20. The Panel was of the view that JW was a credible witness. On occasion she made some assumptions in her evidence about the content of the text messages, and the Panel determined these should accordingly be disregarded.  In the Panel’s view, AG was also credible, although her evidence was somewhat limited in that she did not give evidence of direct conversations with the Registrant.


21. The Panel also took into account the witness statement of HJK to which the Panel gave weight, as it essentially was based on, and exhibited, documentary information which was also before the Panel.


22. In coming to its decision on facts, the Panel drew no adverse inference from the Registrant’s absence.


23.  The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.


24. The Legal Assessor reminded the Panel that the burden of proof rests entirely on the HCPC and that the standard is the civil standard, namely the balance of probabilities. The Legal Assessor advised the Panel that although the Registrant has previous regulatory findings which led to the HCPC Caution referred to in Allegation 3, he is entitled to be considered as of good character in respect of the allegations relating to sexual motivation and dishonesty, because the previous findings were unrelated. The Legal Assessor advised that this should be considered by the Panel when considering his credibility and his propensity to act as alleged.


25. The Legal Assessor referred to the cases of Basson v GMC [2018] EWHC 505, Sait v GMC [2018] 3160 and Ivey v Genting Casinos [2017] UKSC 67.


  Taking into account the matters set out above, the Panel makes the following findings:


Particular 1


26. The Panel considered the multiple screenshots of the text messages sent between SUX and the Registrant, which were exhibited in the witness statement of SUX and JW. The Panel also had before it a transcription of the texts which JW made from SUX’s mobile telephone at a meeting with SUX on 11 December 2017. There were numerous messages between 27 October 2017 and 6 December 2017.


27.  By way of example, the Registrant wrote to SUX as follows:


“You don’t look half bad when you scrub up lol”


  “…Shame your off this weekend as I quite fancied catching up with you.”


Sent 5.48 pm: “I’ll take some pics of you, that will keep me awake lol”


“Mmm a nite in just eating puddings…what a plan. Let me know what you think lol”


“Mmm might catch you in your work uniform then [smile emoji] how good..”


28. The Panel also considered the following exchanges:


“Just reading my book going to sleep soon as really tired” (SUX)


Sent 10.12 pm. “Me too, its been a long day…shame you can’t check out my van…whats the book?” (Registrant) ……


“Looks like tonight then if your up for it. Whats your plans or do you want to chill?” (Registrant)


“Well just ran a bath then going to do my homework for group tomorrow, can do Thurs or Fri if ur free?” (SUX)


Sent 5.12 pm. “I have visits in Derbyshire thursday/ friday so could help with homework or scrub back lol” (Registrant).


29. The Registrant, in his written submissions, accepted he wrote the text messages to SUX. His position is that his text communication was “professional” and “innocent” and that “it was encouraging/ supportive dialogue towards a service user who needed additional out of hours support as and when.”


30. The Panel took into account JW’s evidence that it was usual practice for social workers at Dorset County Council to send text messages to service users from their work mobile telephone as a more convenient method of keeping contact and to keep them updated with developments. JW also informed the Panel that it was an acceptable method in principle for the Registrant to arrange meetings with SUX at her home as part of his duties as her children’s social worker.


31. In approaching this particular, the Panel considered that ‘inappropriate’ and ‘unprofessional’ should bear their ordinary every day meaning. The Cambridge English Dictionary definition of ‘inappropriate’ is ‘unsuitable, especially for the particular time, place or situation.’ The Cambridge English Dictionary Definition of ‘unprofessional’ is ‘not showing the standard of behaviour or skill that is expected of a person in a skilled job.’ The Panel decided that many of the texts sent by the Registrant utilised inappropriate and unprofessional language, and blurred professional boundaries, referring to matters of a personal nature which were nothing to do with SUX’s children’s case. For example scrubbing her back in the bath, and suggesting he would like her to look at his van at night time. There were a number of messages in which the Registrant expressed that he liked SUX’s physical appearance.  In addition, the quantity of the texts which dealt with matters to do with SUX’s personal life and the fact that they were often sent in the late evening, added to their inappropriate and unprofessional nature.


32. The Panel did not find the Registrant’s limited explanation about his text messages credible when assessing the evidence.


33. The Panel therefore found this Particular proved.

Particular 2


34. In her oral evidence, SUX stated that the Registrant rubbed her stomach “almost like a circle” and when he did this, he touched the skin of her stomach. She demonstrated where he placed both his hands on her hips before touching her stomach. She stated that the Registrant asked to see her stomach.


35. The Panel also took into account the witness statement of JW which confirmed that she and a colleague visited the Registrant at her home on 11 December, and at that meeting SUX explained to them that during a visit on 30 November 2017, at around 5.30pm, the Registrant asked her how she was doing with her sit-up exercises and asked if he could have a look. SUX explained to JW that she lifted up her shirt, but not the vest underneath, and the Registrant put his hands on her hips. In JW’s contemporaneous notes from this visit, JW wrote that SUX lifted her top while a t shirt was still covering her stomach and the Registrant put both hands on her hips.


36.  In his written submissions, the Registrant denied touching SUX.


37. As detailed earlier in this determination, while there are some inconsistencies between SUX’s evidence, and the evidence of JW as to what SUX told her and her colleague, SUX maintained throughout her evidence that the Registrant touched her hips and stomach area. The Panel notes that the allegation as drafted does not require the Panel to determine whether the Registrant touched SUX’s skin or not. The Panel is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the Registrant did in fact touch SUX’s hips and stomach area on 30 November 2017.


38.  The Panel therefore found this Particular proved.


Particular 3


39. The Panel considered the evidence of AG.  AG discovered, when making enquiries on the HCPC database, that a Caution Order had imposed upon him on 24 November 2017.


40. The Registrant does not dispute that he was made the subject of a Caution order.


41. However, AG, conceded that she did not have any discussions with the Registrant herself when he was seeking work as a Social Worker with Derbyshire County Council nor was she the individual who interviewed him for the role with the Council. The Panel has not heard evidence from the member of staff who interviewed him.


42. AG could only provide evidence that it was standard practice for interviewers to ask interviewees for a role as a Social Worker whether they were subject to any HCPC restrictions. No other evidence was adduced to support this particular. While AG stated in her witness statement and in her oral evidence that the Registrant did not disclose his Caution, the Panel could find no direct evidence of this.


43. The Panel therefore was not satisfied that that there was sufficient evidence to find this particular proved as drafted.


Particular 4


44. AG’s evidence was that the Registrant commenced employment, through an agency, with Derbyshire County Council on 19 March 2018. His employment ended on 9 April 2018 when AG discovered on searching the HCPC database that the Registrant was subject to an Interim Suspension Order as well as a Caution.


45. AG confirmed in her oral evidence that during his employment he had carried out work as a Social Worker in the form of meetings, telephone calls and he had started to undertake an assessment with a family.


46. The Panel read a letter from the HCPC to the Registrant dated 16 March 2018 informing him that the outcome of the Interim Order hearing was an Interim Suspension Order for a period of 18 months.


47. On the basis of the evidence before it, the Panel found this particular proved.


 Particular 5 in respect of Particular 1


48. In reaching a decision, the Panel took into account its findings in relation to Particular 1. It also took into account the cumulative nature of the exchanges. The Panel has carefully weighed the primary facts found proved in determining whether, on the balance of probabilities, the text messages were sexually motivated.


49. For clarity, the Panel has had regard to all the text messages sent by the Registrant to SUX. The following exchange is provided by way of example:


  “Ok, when do you want to meet? I’m free after 5pm most evenings” (SUX)


“In Sheffield tomorrow n derby mon morn, will have to see how tired I am after that. Don’t want to fall asleep on you lol” (Registrant)


“Ok no problem let me no wot easiest. And lol” (SUX)


“I’ll take some pics of you that will keep me awake lol” (Registrant)
“Lol” (SUX)


 “Selfies are rarely good. You pose I’ll snap away lol”


  “Just looked at end of last text. That looked dodgy lol” (Registrant)


  “Haha just seen it lol” (SUX)


  “Soz…”


  “Well it made me smile at the thought lol” (Registrant)


  “Lol” (SUX)


Sent 6.24 pm. “Well its been a long while since I had a good thought of or such a lovely sight ha ha” (Registrant).


50. In the Panel’s view, the text messages, whilst not overtly sexual, were flirtatious and had a sexual edge to them. The time of the evening, together with the number of text messages sent disclose, in the Panel’s view, that the Registrant was seeking to probe the limits of what SUX was prepared to engage in. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant’s state of mind in sending many of the text messages between October and December 2017 was such that he  was in pursuit of sexual gratification as well as a future sexual relationship with SUX.


51.   The Panel therefore found this particular proved in relation to Particular 1.


Particular 5 in respect of Particular 2


51. The Panel considered Particular 2 separately from Particular 1. However, it took into account its finding that the sending of the text messages were sexually motivated, when considering the incident on 30 November 2017 when the Registrant touched SUX’s stomach and hips.


52. The Panel took into account that the touching occurred when SUX had lifted up her top. As stated earlier, the Panel did not consider it necessary to resolve the inconsistencies in the evidence about whether the Registrant touched SUX on her skin on her stomach or whether it was over a t shirt she was wearing under her top. In addition, the Panel took into account that the date of the incident was towards the end of the period of the sexually motivated text messages sent by the Registrant.


53. The Panel also took into account SUX’s evidence that the Registrant asked to see her stomach. The Panel determined he had an intention to have physical contact.


54. In light of the circumstances, and taking into account its finding that  text messages he sent were sexually motivated, the Panel was satisfied that the touching was sexually motivated in that it was done in pursuit of sexual gratification.


55. The Panel therefore found Particular 5 proved in relation to Particular 2.


Particular 6 in respect of Particular 4


56. The Panel had regard to an email from the HCPC to the Registrant dated 2 March 2018 giving him notice of an Interim Order hearing on 15 March 2018, and the Panel considered the Registrant ‘s reply by email dated 5 March 2018 confirming that he would not attend. From this, the Panel inferred he was therefore aware of the Interim Order hearing. Moreover, the Registrant’s written submissions are dated 30 March 2019. Within these submissions the Registrant makes detailed references to the decision of the HCPC panel to impose an Interim Suspension Order over his registration.


57. The witness statement of HJK confirms that a letter dated 16 March 2018 notifying the Registrant of the outcome of the hearing, namely that an Interim Suspension Order had been imposed for 18 months, was sent to his address which is on the HCPC register as well as by email to his email address. The Panel took into account that he had received an email from the HCPC earlier that month which he had replied to, as set out in the previous paragraph.
58. In addition, the Panel also took into account AG’s evidence that the Registrant told her he was unaware that he was subject to an Interim Suspension Order. However, given the totality of the evidence, the Panel did not consider this explanation, provided by the Registrant, to be credible.


59. On the balance of probabilities, the Panel was satisfied that the Registrant knew that he was subject to the Interim Suspension between 19 March 2018 and 9 April 2018 when he worked at Derbyshire County Council as a Social Worker. The Panel then went on to consider whether this action was honest or dishonest according to the objective standards of ordinary decent people. The Panel was satisfied that it was dishonest in that he worked as a Social Worker when he was not entitled to do so and without informing Derbyshire County Council that he was suspended

.
60.  The Panel therefore found this particular proved.


Decision on the Statutory Ground and Impairment


61.      The Panel took into account the submissions of Ms Sheridan that the facts found proved constitute misconduct and impairment. The Panel also had regard to the Registrant’s written submissions.  In summary, Ms Sheridan submitted that the Registrant’s conduct taken individually or cumulatively fell seriously short of the standards of conduct and the standards of proficiency for Social Workers. She submitted his actions were deliberate, amounted to a breach of professional boundaries and had the potential for significant and long-lasting impact on SUX who was made to feel uncomfortable in her own home. In relation to dishonesty Miss Sheridan submitted that despite the Registrant knowing he had been suspended he worked as a Social Worker ‘in defiance’ of his regulator.


62. In considering whether the facts found proved constitute misconduct and impairment, the Panel was aware that there is no burden of proof at this stage and that misconduct is a matter for its own independent judgement. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor who referred during the course of her advice to the case of Roylance v GMC (No. 2) [2001] AC 311. The Panel took into account the HCPTS Practice Note entitled “Finding that Fitness to Practise is ‘Impaired’”. The Panel was aware that public protection and the wider public interest should be considered.


63.  The Panel was mindful that a breach of professional standards such as those contained in the HCPC Standards of conduct, performance and ethics (2016) (“the Standards”) was not necessarily in itself determinative of whether there was misconduct.


64.  With regard to Particulars, the Panel was of the view that the Registrant fell below the following: Standards 1, 2, 6, 9. In relation to HCPC Standards of Proficiency. Social Workers in England (2012): 2, 3, 8 and 9. In reaching a decision, the Panel considered that the Registrant had breached multiple standards and those breaches were serious.


65. The Panel considered the Registrant followed a clear course of deliberate conduct with respect to his many text messages to SUX, a vulnerable service user, which were sexually motivated. This course of conduct was compounded by his sexually motivated touching of her on 30 November 2017. He was in a position of trust and responsibility stemming from his role as the allocated Social Worker to SUX’s children, which involved a process of making an assessment of SUX’s ability to have her children returned to her care. Such assessment could have had profound consequences for both SUX and her children, namely it was to be eventually presented in the form of a report to be put before a judge. In such circumstances, he took advantage of an imbalance of power in the relationship with SUX to exploit her in pursuit of his own sexual gratification and in pursuit of a future sexual relationship with SUX. His actions caused harm to SUX, a vulnerable service user with a difficult personal past, who stated in her evidence that the Registrant caused her to feel “uncomfortable” in her own home. She stated he was “supposed to be there to help”. As such she started to try to avoid being at home alone during his visits, but that this made things difficult for her because the Registrant was assessing her ability to have her children returned to her care.


66. With regard to the dishonesty element of the allegation, namely, in working as a Social Worker whilst subject to an Interim Suspension Order, the Panel considers his actions deliberately flouted the decision of his regulator, for which he had scant regard.


67. The Panel concluded the Registrant breached fundamental values and standards of his profession. The Panel was satisfied that the Registrant’s misconduct, individually and cumulatively fell seriously short of the standards expected of him in professional circumstances, and was sufficiently serious so as to constitute misconduct.


Decision on Impairment


68. The Panel noted that in his written submissions, the Registrant did not make any reference to working as a Social Worker whilst suspended by the HCPC. Rather he makes detailed commentary on the Interim Suspension Order decision, as well as the HCPC’s regulatory process in general.


69.  The Panel has found no evidence of any insight on the part of the Registrant into his misconduct, why it was inappropriate, and what could be done to avoid it in the future. Nor is there any evidence of an attempt to remediate his misconduct. In his submissions the Registrant makes clear that he no longer wishes to practise as a Social Worker and he has stated he is now working in a different field.


70. The Panel decided that, in respect of the misconduct, the Registrant had put SUX at unwarranted risk of harm. The Registrant’s actions, which abused his position of power, had a direct effect upon SUX, causing her to feel unsafe in her own home, and uncomfortable with her relationship with the Registrant on a professional level. Further, in working while suspended by the HCPC, the Registrant demonstrated  no understanding of the importance of the system of professional regulation or the impact of his conduct on the wider public interest.


71. The Panel determined that the remaining limbs of the questions as set out in CHRE v (1) NMC (2) Grant [2011] EWHC 927 were met with regard to the Registrant’s behaviour, in that he had brought the profession into serious disrepute, breached fundamental tenets of the profession, as set out in the Panel’s decision on misconduct, and acted dishonestly. 


72. In light of the lack of any evidence of insight, of remorse, reflection or remediation shown by the Registrant, the Panel was satisfied that the risk of repetition of his misconduct is high.


73. In light of the Registrant’s past misconduct, the ongoing risk to service users, and the lack of insight into the need to respect the decisions of his regulator, the Panel was satisfied that a reasonable well-informed member of the public, with knowledge of all the facts and circumstances, would be gravely concerned if the Registrant were to be allowed to practice without restriction. The Panel was therefore satisfied that the need to uphold proper professional standards and to maintain public confidence in the profession would be undermined if a finding of impairment were not made.


74. The Panel therefore found the Registrant’s current fitness to practise to be impaired on the basis of both the personal and public components.


Decision on Sanction


75.  The Panel carefully considered the submissions of Ms Sheridan, read the HCPC’s Sanctions Policy March 2019 edition (SP), and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel was mindful that the purpose of any sanction is not to be punitive. The primary purpose is to protect the public. Sanction is a matter for the independent judgement of the Panel. The Panel took into account the principle of proportionality in reaching its decision on sanction, which means that the minimum action is necessary to ensure the public is protected.


76.    The Panel identified the following mitigating factors:


i. no previous regulatory findings related to dishonesty

          The Panel identified the following aggravating factors:


i. a paucity of evidence of insight or remediation;
ii. no apology or remorse;
iii. previous regulatory finding against the Registrant;
iv. the text messages were sent over a prolonged period
v. abuse of position in relation to a vulnerable service user, including predatory behaviour;
vi. the dishonesty could have had a serious adverse effect on the reputation of Derbyshire County Council.

77. In reaching a decision, the Panel carefully evaluated both the mitigating and aggravating features it identified. Given the Registrant dishonestly worked whilst subject to an Interim Suspension Order the Panel was of the view that the Registrant committed dishonesty which was at the higher end of the spectrum of seriousness. It was deliberate and continued for a period of time. The Panel also considered that the abuse of a position of trust and sexual misconduct in relation to a vulnerable service user was serious.

78. The Panel was also aware that the Registrant is currently the subject of a Caution Order for unrelated matters.

79. The Panel was of the view that mediation is not appropriate in light of the seriousness of the case and given the Registrant’s lack of engagement with the regulatory process.

80. The Panel discounted taking no further action because there is a high risk of repetition, and no action would be wholly inadequate as it would not protect the public or satisfy the public interest in this case.

81. Moreover, these were not isolated incidents nor were they minor in nature a Caution Order would not be appropriate or sufficient as this sanction would not protect the public nor would it uphold the wider public interest.

82. The Panel next considered a Conditions of Practice Order but was satisfied that this would not be appropriate because there is no evidence that the Registrant is willing and able to comply with conditions, and in any event, conditions would not be sufficient to protect the public or uphold the wider public interest in light of the seriousness of the misconduct. 

83. The Panel next considered a Suspension Order and considered para. 121 of the SP:
“A suspension order is likely to be appropriate where there are serious concerns which cannot be reasonably addressed by a conditions of practice order, but which do not require the registrant to be struck off the Register. These types of cases will typically exhibit the following factors:
• the concerns represent a serious breach of the Standards of conduct, performance and ethics;
• the registrant has insight;
• the issues are unlikely to be repeated; and
• there is evidence to suggest the registrant is likely to be able to resolve or remedy their failings.”
84. The Panel has already determined there is a high risk of repetition of the misconduct. The level of seriousness of the dishonesty and the sexually motivated misconduct, the complete lack of evidence of any insight and remediation, the indication that the Registrant does not wish to continue in his profession, and the ongoing high risk of repetition, led the Panel to conclude that Suspension would not be justified, proportionate or sufficient to protect the public and uphold the wider public interest.

85. In reaching a decision, the Panel also had regard to in particular paragraphs 130 and 131 of the SP.
 
86. In the Panel’s view, the Registrant committed serious and deliberate dishonesty and sexually motivated misconduct. The Registrant used his professional status to pursue an inappropriate relationship with a very vulnerable service user for his own sexual gratification. In doing so he abused his professional position and sought to take advantage of SUX placing her at significant risk of harm. In behaving in this manner he knew how vulnerable the service user was and he used the unequal balance of power between them for his own advantage. The Panel took into account that he dishonestly worked while suspended on an interim basis by the HCPC, showing a clear disregard for the regulatory process. All of these factors led the Panel to decide that any lesser sanction would not protect the public and would seriously undermine confidence in the profession concerned or the regulatory process. In all the circumstances of this case, striking off is the only means by which the public can be protected and the wider public interest be upheld.

87. In coming to this decision, the Panel took into account the principle of proportionality, and the impact that such a sanction will have on the Registrant’s right to practise his profession, as well as the likely reputational and financial impact. However, the Panel decided that the need to protect the public and uphold the public interest outweighed the Registrant’s interests in this regard.

88. The Panel therefore decided to impose a Striking Off Order.

Order

Order:
The Registrar is directed to strike the name of Mr Carl Gordon Riley from the Register on the date this order comes into effect. 

Notes

No notes available

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr Carl Gordon Riley

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
29/07/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Struck off
28/05/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Interim Order Review Interim Suspension
01/03/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Interim Order Review Interim Suspension
13/09/2018 Investigating committee Interim Order Review Interim Suspension
15/03/2018 Investigating committee Interim Order Application Interim Suspension
24/11/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Caution
02/10/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Adjourned part heard