Mr Alan D Campbell

Profession: Paramedic

Registration Number: PA14966

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 05/05/2020 End: 17:00 07/05/2020

Location: Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service 405 Kennington Road London SE11 4PT

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Struck off

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Allegation

Whilst registered with the Health and Care Professions Council and employed by the West Midlands Ambulance Service, as a Paramedic:

1. In relation to Colleague 1:

a) In or around June 2016, you put your hand on Colleague 1’s groin and/or thigh.   

b) On one or more occasion between August 2016 and May 2018, you put your hand(s) on Colleague 1’s leg(s).

c) On one or more occasion between August 2016 and May 2018, you tried to hold Colleague 1’s hand and/or held Colleague 1’s hand.

d) On one or more occasion between June 2017 and June 2018, you commented that Colleague 1 was pretty.

e) On a date between August 2016 and May 2018, you touched Colleague 1’s lips.

f) On or around June 2017, you told Colleague 1 you would love to be sat on her lap, or words to that effect.

g) On a date between August 2016 and May 2018, you asked Colleague 1 when she was going to dye her hair red, as red-haired people turned you on, or words to that effect.

h) On or around 11 May 2018, you pinched Colleague 1’s bottom and/or the top of Colleague 1’s leg.

2. In relation to Colleague 3:

a) On an unknown date between August 2014 and February 2015, you rubbed your hand up and down Colleague 3’s back;

b) On one or more occasions between August 2014 and June 2018, you told Colleague 3 that she looked pretty, or words to that effect.
     
3. In relation to Colleague 4:

a) On one or more occasion between July 2016 and June 2018, you made comments about Colleague 4’s bottom.

b) On one or more occasion between July 2016 and June 2018, you grabbed, touched and/or squeezed Colleague 4’s bottom.

c) On a date between July 2016 and June 2018, you stated that Colleague 4’s bottom was really nice, but it would look better if you could bend her over, or words to that effect.

d) On one or more occasion between July 2016 and June 2018, you tried to kiss Colleague 4.

e) On one or more occasion between July 2016 and June 2018, you touched, rubbed and/or squeezed Colleague 4’s leg.

f) On a date between July 2016 and June 2018 you:

i. Touched, grabbed and/or fondled Colleague 4’s breast; and/or

ii. Touched Colleague 4’s crotch.

g) On one or more occasion between July 2016 and June 2018, you told Colleague 4 that she made you hard, or words to that effect.

h) On approximately two occasions between July 2016 and June 2018, you:

i. Rubbed your penis, over your trousers;

ii. Told Colleague 4 you were hard, or words to that effect; and/or

iii. Told Colleague 4 you wanted her, or words to that effect.

i) On a date between July 2016 and June 20128, you:

i. Exposed yourself to Colleague 4; and/or

ii. Asked Colleague 4 to kiss your penis.

4. In relation to Colleague 5:

a) On more than one occasion between July 2015 and July 2018, you touched Colleague 5’s leg;

b) On more than one occasion between July 2015 and July 2018, you touched Colleague 5’s hand;

c) On more than one occasion between July 2015 and July 2018, you hugged and/or kissed Colleague 5 on the cheek.

d) On more than one occasion between July 2015 and July 2018, you told Colleague 5 that her breasts looked nice or words to that effect.

5. In relation to Colleague 6:

a) On one or more occasion between November 2014 and July 2018, you said to Colleague 6 ‘your arse looks nice today’, or words to that effect.

b) On one or more occasion between November 2014 and July 2018, you touched Colleague 6’s hand and/or arm.

6. In relation to Colleague 7:

a) On a date in or around April 2015, you touched and/or squeezed Colleague 7’s bottom.

7. In relation to Colleague 2:

a) In or around January-February 1999, you:

i. pushed her to the floor of the ambulance;

ii. jumped on top of her;

iii. simulated sex and/or ground your pelvis into hers;

b) On an unknown date in 2000, you unzipped Colleague 2’s jumpsuit to the waist;

c) On an unknown date in 2000, you:

i. put your face close to the face of a patient;

ii. made one or more comments to the patient about her looking good for her age and/or that she was beautiful;

d) On an unknown date between January and June 2018, you reminded Colleague 2 that you had unzipped her jumpsuit in 2000.

8. Your actions as described at paragraphs 1-7 above were:

a) Inappropriate; and/or

b) sexually motivated in that they were done:

i. in pursuit of sexual gratification and/or

ii. in pursuit of a future sexual relationship.

9. The matters set out at paragraphs 1-8 above constitute misconduct.

10. By reason of your misconduct, your fitness to practice as a Paramedic is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary Matters

Service

1. The Panel heard that Notice in respect of this hearing was sent by first class post and email to the Registrant’s registered address on 9 December 2019 in accordance with Rules 3 and 6 of the HCPC (Conduct and Competence Committee) (Procedure) Rules 2003 (the Rules).

2. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and determined that Notice had been served in accordance with the Rules.

Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant

3. Ms Bagott, on behalf of the HCPC, invited the Panel to proceed in the absence of the Registrant. She referred the Panel to an email dated 4 February 2020 from the Registrant’s representative to the HCPTS, apparently written in response to an amended Notice in respect of this Hearing. The email stated:

“You have been informed on many occasions that [the Registrant] shall not be attending or taking part … You know the position and that should be an end to it.”

4. Ms Bagott submitted that it was clear that the Registrant was aware of the hearing and had decided not to attend. The Registrant had also not sought an adjournment. In the circumstances, she invited the Panel to conclude that he had waived his right to attend.

5. Ms Bagott noted that there was no information to suggest that the Registrant would attend a future hearing if the Panel were to adjourn the matter on this occasion. In addition, she informed the Panel that vulnerable witnesses were prepared to give evidence over the next week, and that one was already in attendance.

6. Ms Bagott referred the Panel to the guidance contained in the HCPTS Practice Note on “Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant” and submitted that, in the circumstances set out above, it was appropriate for the Panel to exercise its discretion to proceed on the basis that the Registrant had chosen not to attend the hearing and had waived the right to appear. She submitted that the public interest in the expeditious disposal of the Allegation out-weighed any disadvantage to the Registrant in proceeding in his absence.

7. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, who reminded it of the guidance provided in the cases of R v Jones [2002] UKHL5, Adeogba v the General Medical Council [2016] EWCA Civ 162, and Davies v HCPC [2016] EWHC 1593 (Admin).

8. The Panel recognised that the discretion to proceed in the absence of a registrant is one which must be exercised with the utmost care and caution and that its decision should be guided by the HCPC’s statutory objective to protect the public.

9. The Panel recognised that it would run counter to the statutory objective to protect the public if a practitioner could effectively frustrate the process by deliberately failing to engage with it. It also noted the inconvenience to vulnerable witnesses if the hearing were not to proceed. The Panel further considered that it had no reason to believe that, if it were to adjourn the hearing, the Registrant would attend on the next occasion.

10. In reaching its decision on Ms Bagott’s application, the Panel had regard to the nature and circumstances of the Registrant’s behaviour in absenting himself. The Panel concluded that the Registrant had voluntarily absented himself and so waived his right to be present. The Panel balanced the public interest in the timely disposal of the Allegation with any disadvantage to the Registrant should the hearing proceed in his absence. For the reasons set out above, the Panel concluded that it would be fair and in the interests of justice to proceed in the absence of the Registrant, and decided to do so.

Application to Conduct Parts of the Hearing in Private

11. Ms Bagott made an application that parts of the hearing be held in private because proper exploration of the evidence in this case would involve reference to the impact some of the matters alleged had on several of the witnesses. She said this would include reference to the health and wellbeing of those witnesses. Although witness names would be automatically anonymised during the hearing and in the Panel’s determinations, she said it would be necessary to hear the evidence on impact in private in order to ensure that the rights to privacy of those individuals were not breached.

12. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

13. In reaching its decision, the Panel had careful regard to Rule 10(1)(a) of the Rules, which provides:

“At any hearing the proceedings shall be held in public unless the Committee is satisfied that, in the interests of justice or for the protection of the private life of the registrant … or of any patient or client, the public should be excluded from all or part of the hearing.”

14. The Panel was satisfied that, for the protection of the private life of the relevant witnesses, the public should be excluded from those parts of the hearing in which reference was made to the impact on their health and wellbeing of any of the matters alleged.

Background

15. The Registrant was employed at West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS), formerly Staffordshire Ambulance Service, for approximately 22 years, most recently as a Clinical Support Desk Paramedic. He was based within the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), assisting call assessors who answered emergency 999 calls.

16. Concerns relating to the Registrant’s behaviour were raised by Colleague 1 on 4 June 2018. On 6 June 2018, JW, Head of Patient Safety, was appointed as Investigating Officer and asked to investigate these concerns. Over the course of this investigation, a number of additional allegations relating to alleged sexual harassment and inappropriate sexual behaviour were made by a further seven female colleagues.

17. On 10 September 2018, the HCPC received a fitness to practice referral regarding the Registrant from WMAS.
 
Decision on Facts

18. In considering the facts alleged, the Panel applied the principles that the burden of proving the facts is on the HCPC, that the Registrant is not required to prove anything, and that a fact alleged is only to be found proven if the Panel is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that its occurrence was more likely than not.

19. In reaching its decisions, the Panel had careful regard to all the evidence, both documentary and oral, adduced in this case, and to the submissions of Ms Bagott. It accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

20. The documentary evidence before the Panel included:

• Witness statements from JW, Colleagues 1-7, CS, and JF;

• WMAS Statements of SB, AG, LC, and JC;

• 22.07.18 Investigation Report of JW;

• 13 July 2018 email from LS to HCPC;

• 04-06.06.18 emails between AG and Colleague 1 re: complaint;

• 11.01.18 Disciplinary Policy & Procedure;

• 06.06.18 Referral for Formal Investigation;

• 05.07.18 Update to Terms of Reference;

• Signed Notes of Formal Investigatory Interviews of the Registrant and of Colleagues 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6;

• Signed Notes of Formal Investigatory Interviews of CS and of SS;

• 24.06.18 Signed Notes of CS’s Formal Investigatory Interview;

• 06.06.18 Email from EC to JW providing CCTV images of Tollgate;

• 19.05-15.06.18 Emails between SM and SB providing copies of emails sent to VW and AG re: the Registrant;

• 05.05.18 Email from AG to MW re: the Registrant;

• 12.05.18 Email from AG to DN re: two informal allegations made against the Registrant;

• Dignity at Work Policy 2012 Versions 3 and 4, 2016 Version 5, and 2017 Version 6;

• WMAS Code of Conduct;

• WMAS Vision and Values;

21. Ms Bagott opened the case for the HCPC, summarising the evidence which would be called in support of the factual allegations.

22. The Panel heard oral evidence from Colleagues 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, all of whom had raised complaints against the Registrant. It also heard evidence from JW, the Trust’s Investigating Officer; CS, who at all material times had been a Call Taker in the EOC; and JF, who at all material times had been a Call Taker Supervisor at WMAS. The Panel found all these witnesses were credible and did their best to assist the Panel. The Panel found Colleagues 1 and 4 to be particularly vulnerable and visibly upset in the giving of their testimony, which was nevertheless clear and reliable. The Panel was greatly assisted by the balanced and professional evidence of JW.

23. JW told the Panel that on 6 June 2018 he had been instructed to conduct the WMAS Investigation in respect of allegations that had been made against the Registrant. He said that during the course of his investigation he had interviewed and/or taken statements from each of the direct complainants who had raised concerns about the Registrant. He told the Panel that he had also interviewed the Registrant, as well as AG, the EOC Commander; SB, an EOC Duty Manager; CS, a Call Taker; LC, an EOC Duty Manager; JF, a Call Taker Supervisor; and SS, an Assistant Call Taker Supervisor. He referred the Panel to the notes of interview and/or WMAS statements in respect of each, and also to his Investigation Report.

24. JW told the Panel that, for the purpose of his investigation, he had interviewed the Registrant on 11 July 2018. He stated: “[The Registrant’s] demeanour was that he could not believe the allegations were being made. He did not offer a rationale as to why people would make these allegations against him. In my view, he appeared to be in disbelief.” JW also told the Panel that: “During the investigation, I became aware that two staff members made informal allegations about [the Registrant’s] conduct in May 2015. These staff members were Colleague 7 and Colleague 8. At the time, the staff members wanted to manage this informally and [the Registrant’s] line manager at the time, AG, spoke with [the Registrant] about the concerns that had been raised on 12 May 2015.”

25. The Panel had careful regard to the Registrant’s signed interview with JW, which contained the following recorded exchange:

JW: ‘Have you ever been spoken to by the Trust about inappropriate behaviour towards female colleagues?’

Registrant: ‘Yes I have, a couple of years ago. It was not formal and nothing came of it.’

JW: ‘On 12th May 2015 do you recall a meeting with AG and VW about allegations of sexual harassment?’

....

Registrant: ‘This was informal and I did not do it.’

JW: ‘At the time of this meeting with AG and VW were you given a copy of the dignity at work policy?’

Registrant: ‘Yes.’

JW: ‘Are you aware of and do you have an understanding of 1. Trust’s visions and values, 2. Code of conduct, 3. Dignity at work policy.’

Registrant: ‘Yes I am aware and have a basic understanding.’

JW: ‘Are you fully aware of your requirements as a registered Paramedic in relation to the HCPC standards of conduct, performance and ethics?’

Registrant: ‘Yes I am.’

26. The Panel noted that in the course of this interview, the Registrant is recorded as denying any conduct of an inappropriate sexual nature towards any female colleagues or members of the public. He said he could offer no explanation as to why female colleagues would make the allegations that had been raised against him. He is recorded as telling JW: “We have banter but not of a sexual nature. I have never put my hands on a female colleague in an inappropriate way ... none of the staff have ever raised concerns to me about my behaviour. No way on god’s earth would I pinch a colleague’s bum or touch them in a sexual nature. Sometimes when assisting colleagues with calls I may have accidentally touched colleagues due to lack of space and the fact I have to be close to them to assist with the call and see the screen.”

Particular 1

Whilst registered with the Health and Care Professions Council and employed by the West Midlands Ambulance Service, as a Paramedic:

In relation to Colleague 1:

a) In or around June 2016, you put your hand on Colleague 1’s groin and/or thigh.

b) On one or more occasion between August 2016 and May 2018, you put your hand(s) on Colleague 1’s leg(s).

c) On one or more occasion between August 2016 and May 2018, you tried to hold Colleague 1’s hand and/or held Colleague 1’s hand.

d) On one or more occasion between June 2017 and June 2018, you commented that Colleague 1 was pretty.

e) On a date between August 2016 and May 2018, you touched Colleague 1’s lips.

f) On or around June 2017, you told colleague 1 you would love to be sat on her lap, or words to that effect.

g) On a date between August 2016 and May 2018, you asked Colleague 1 when she was going to dye her hair red, as red-haired people turned you on, or words to that effect.

h) On or around 11 May 2018, you pinched Colleague 1’s bottom and/or the top of Colleague 1’s leg.

27. The Panel had careful regard to Colleague 1’s written statement for the HCPC, her complaint email to AG dated 6 June 2018, and also to her oral evidence. She stated that she had worked with the Registrant for approximately 2 years and 6 months until June or July 2018. During this time, she was employed as a Call Taker at WMAS and the Registrant was working as a Clinical Support Desk Paramedic.

28. Colleague 1 stated: “I decided to come forward and report [the Registrant] because it had got to a point where what was happening … was affecting me outside of work ... One of my friends from outside work that I have known for a long time told me she applied for a Call Assessor position with the Trust. I just thought ‘if he does to her what he’s done to me, I’ll never be able to forgive myself knowing he did it to someone else and I could have stopped it happening’.”

29. The Panel had careful regard to JF’s written statement for the HCPC and also to her oral evidence. JF, a Call Taker Supervisor, stated that she had known the Registrant since she first joined WMAS in 2007 as a Call Assessor. JF stated: “It appeared to me that [the Registrant’s] behaviour changed around female staff members who were good looking and fairly young ... if a young staff member had a problem on call and required [the Registrant’s] medical advice or if they were vulnerable in some way, [the Registrant] would try to integrate himself with them. It was really noticeable.” In her oral evidence to the Panel, JF said that she had considered Colleague 1 to be a vulnerable member of staff when she had joined the Trust and that, in her view, Colleague 1 had been “targeted” by the Registrant.

30. The Panel gave careful consideration to CS’s written statement for the HCPC and also to his oral evidence. CS, who was a Call Taker at the times in issue, stated: “In terms of first-hand experience of seeing [the Registrant]’s attitude towards my female colleagues, I noticed that he would mainly sit inappropriately close to them ... His role was obviously to assist them during a live 999 call. When other people who were employed in the same role as [the Registrant] would come across and talk to the Call Takers to provide advice, they would pull up a chair and sit near them. But when [the Registrant] was asked to come and provide assistance, he would sit so close that the only way to sit closer to them would be to sit on the Call Taker’s knee. Sometimes he would pull up a chair and stroke the Call Taker’s ankles and make inappropriate contact ... He only did this to female Call Takers ... He would not just go over and grab them, he would sit next to them and then move his chair a bit closer and then a bit closer and he would get so close to them and then occasionally put his hand on them.” CS stated that he had witnessed the Registrant behave in this way to Colleague 1, Colleague 4, and Colleague 7.

31. Although the Panel received no formal response to the allegations from the Registrant, it did have careful regard to the contents of his signed interview with JW. The Panel noted that when asked if there was anything he wanted to say about Colleague 1’s allegations, he is recorded as having responded: “I am very shocked. She has never said anything to me to suggest there was any problems. She would talk to me at lunch about the children. I would not say we are mates but we do talk about general things at lunch. There is definitely nothing sexual between us.”

Particular 1(a): In or around June 2016, you put your hand on Colleague 1’s groin and/or thigh – Proved

32. The Panel noted the evidence set out above and had particular regard to the evidence of Colleague 1. In her email of 6 June 2018, referred to above, Colleague 1 wrote: “On two occasions [the Registrant] has inappropriately touched me, once when he found out I was joining the team back in June 2016, he placed his hand around my groin under the table in the rest room.”

33. In the signed notes of Colleague 1’s interview with JW, she is recorded as saying that she had been sitting at a table in the break room and that the Registrant had been sitting next to her when he put his hand on her thigh under the table for a few seconds.

34. In her written statement for the HCPC, Colleague 1 stated: “I can confirm that he put his hand on my knee, squeezed it and then moved his hand up my leg to my groin.”

35. In her oral evidence to the Panel, Colleague 1 indicated on a printed body map where she said the Registrant had touched her on her first day in the team. This showed the area from her knee to her groin. She said the incident had “tainted” her start with the team and had made her feel “dirty”.

36. In the signed notes of the Registrant’s interview with JW he is recorded as responding to JW’s question about the incident, which was: “did you place your hand on her thigh?” The Registrant’s answer is recorded as: “Absolutely not. I don’t remember doing it.”

37. The Panel accepted Colleague 1’s account. The Panel was satisfied on the balance of probabilities that in or around June 2016, the Registrant had put his hand on Colleague 1’s groin and/or thigh.

Particular 1(b): On one or more occasion between August 2016 and May 2018, you put your hand(s) on Colleague 1’s leg(s) – Proved

38. The Panel noted the evidence set out above and had particular regard to the evidence of Colleague 1. In her email of 6 June 2018, referred to above, Colleague 1 wrote that there had been: “a number of times when he has been assisting me on a call or helping me when I have been acting up as Assistant Supervisor that he has crouched down next to me and placed his hand on my leg, rubbing it up and down...” In her oral evidence to the Panel, Colleague 1 was clear that, in her view, there had been no need for the Registrant to touch her as described.

39. In the signed notes of Colleague 1’s interview with JW, she is recorded as saying that if she needed assistance with any calls the Registrant would come over to the desk, kneel down, and put his hands on her legs.

40. In the signed notes of the Registrant’s interview with JW he is recorded as responding to JW’s question about the incident, which was: “When assisting with calls have you ever put your hands on Colleague 1’s legs?”. The Registrant’s answer is recorded as “No.”

41. The Panel accepted Colleague 1’s account. On the basis of the evidence put before it, the Panel was satisfied that it was more likely than not that on one or more occasion between August 2016 and May 2018, the Registrant had put his hand(s) on Colleague 1’s leg(s).

Particular 1(c): On one or more occasion between August 2016 and May 2018, you tried to hold Colleague 1’s hand and/or held Colleague 1’s hand – Proved

42. The Panel noted the evidence set out above and had particular regard to the evidence of Colleague 1. In her email of 6 June 2018, referred to above, Colleague 1 wrote that there had been: “a number of times when he has been assisting me on a call or helping me when I have been acting up as Assistant Supervisor that he has ... sat holding my hand.”

43. In her oral evidence, Colleague 1 demonstrated how the Registrant would interlace his fingers with hers on the computer mouse, or hold her hand. She told the Panel that the Registrant “would take my hand as if it was his”. She said he did not have permission to do so and had no legitimate reason to touch her.
 
44. In the signed notes of Colleague 1’s interview with JW, she is recorded as saying that if she needed assistance with any calls the Registrant would come over to the desk and would try to hold hands, crouching next to her, always sitting very close. When asked if she tried to stop him, her answer is recorded as: “I tried to pull my hand away but he was gripping it.” When asked if she had ever told him to stop her answer is recorded as: “I didn’t have the confidence, as he was more senior and well respected in the team as a CSD paramedic I thought if I ignored him he may stop.”

45. In the signed notes of the Registrant’s interview with JW he is recorded as responding to JW’s question about the incident, which was: “When assisting with calls have you ever tried to or held Colleague 1’s hand?”. The Registrant’s answer is recorded as “No.”

46. The Panel accepted Colleague 1’s account. On the basis of the evidence put before it, the Panel was satisfied that it was more likely than not that on one or more occasion between August 2016 and May 2018, the Registrant had tried to hold Colleague 1’s hand and/or held Colleague 1’s hand.

Particular 1(d): On one or more occasion between June 2017 and June 2018, you commented that Colleague 1 was pretty – Proved

47. The Panel noted the evidence set out above and had particular regard to the evidence of Colleague 1. In her email of 6 June 2018, referred to above, Colleague 1 wrote: “Over the past 2 years since joining Team 3 from relief staff, [the Registrant’s] comments have become increasingly more sexual towards me.” In her oral evidence to the Panel, Colleague 1 said the Registrant’s tone of voice when commenting that she was pretty had been “sexual”.

48. In the signed notes of Colleague 1’s interview with JW, she is recorded as saying that the Registrant was always picking up her ID badge and turning it around saying, “that’s pretty”; he did this regularly.

49. In the signed notes of the Registrant’s interview with JW he is recorded as responding to JW’s question, which was: “Have you ever made any personal comments towards Colleague 1 like “You’re pretty...?”. The Registrant’s answer is recorded as “No. I don’t find Colleague 1 attractive.”

50. On the basis of the evidence put before it, the Panel was satisfied that it was more likely than not that on one or more occasion between June 2017 and June 2018, the Registrant had commented that Colleague 1 was pretty.

Particular 1(e): On a date between August 2016 and May 2018, you touched Colleague 1’s lips – Proved

51. The Panel noted the evidence set out above and had particular regard to the evidence of Colleague 1.

52. In her email of 4 June 2018, referred to above, Colleague 1 wrote: “Over the past year [the Registrant] has made passing comments regarding my hair and make up, often touching my face when I would have makeup on, to the point it has left me with little confidence regarding my appearance as I don’t want to make the effort and draw any attention to myself.”

53. In the signed notes of Colleague 1’s interview with JW, she is recorded as saying that she was wearing lip gloss and was in the doorway of the break room when the Registrant approached her, made a comment about her lip gloss, then started touching her lips.

54. In her oral evidence to the Panel, Colleague 1 said: “It was on days when I wore make-up that he touched me.” She told the Panel that on this occasion the Registrant had been blocking the doorway and made her feel she should not have put anything on her lips. She said the Registrant had been “smirking” when he touched her lips and that it felt “creepy”.

55. In the signed notes of the Registrant’s interview with JW, he is recorded as responding to JW’s question, which was: “Have you ever made any personal comments towards Colleague 1 like...’I like your lip gloss’?”. The Registrant’s answer is recorded as “No. I don’t find Colleague 1 attractive.”

56. The Panel accepted Colleague 1’s account. On the basis of the evidence put before it, the Panel was satisfied that it was more likely than not that on a date between August 2016 and May 2018, the Registrant had touched Colleague 1’s lips.

Particular 1(f): On or around June 2017, you told Colleague 1 you would love to be sat on her lap, or words to that effect – Proved

57. The Panel noted the evidence set out above and had particular regard to the evidence of Colleague 1. In her email of 6 June 2018, referred to above, Colleague 1 wrote: “Around 1 year ago, whilst I was alone in the break room, [the Registrant] entered and questioned me on why I looked so tired. I then explained that my son, who was 3 at the time, had been unwell in the night and the only place he would settle was sitting on me upright. [The Registrant] then said to me ‘I would love to sit on you like that’ when I didn’t respond he got closer to me and said ‘I was being rude then’. It was at this point I then left the room and spent the rest of my break in the ladies toilets. Since that day I have often stayed in the EOC room or in the toilets on breaks unless I know there is other people in the rest room.”

58. In her oral evidence, Colleague 1 told the Panel the Registrant’s tone of voice at this point had been very sexual, strong, and almost intimidating. She said: “I’m 5’3”, he’s 6’2”.” She said that the incident made her feel scared. She told the Panel: “I felt if I didn’t remove myself from the situation he could have forced himself on me.”

59. In the signed notes of Colleague 1’s interview with JW, she is recorded as saying that when the Registrant had asked why she was tired, she had explained that she had been up all night with her son as he would only sleep on her lap. The Registrant had replied that he would love to be sat up sleeping on her lap.

60. In the signed notes of the Registrant’s interview with JW he is recorded as responding to JW’s question, which was: “Did you state that you would love to be sat on her lap?”. The Registrant’s response is recorded as “No. Maybe she has misinterpreted this. I may have said maybe your son likes sitting on your lap.”

61. The Panel accepted Colleague 1’s account. On the basis of the evidence put before it, the Panel was satisfied that it was more likely than not that on or around June 2017, the Registrant had told Colleague 1 he would love to be sat on her lap, or words to that effect.

Particular 1(g): On a date between August 2016 and May 2018, you asked Colleague 1 when she was going to dye her hair red, as red-haired people turned you on, or words to that effect – Proved

62. The Panel noted the evidence set out above and had particular regard to the evidence of Colleague 1 and CS. In her email of 6 June 2018, referred to above, Colleague 1 wrote: “Over the past year he has made passing comments regarding my hair and make up ... to the point it has left me with little confidence regarding my appearance as I don’t want to make the effort and draw any attention to myself.”

63. In her oral evidence, Colleague 1 told the Panel that she usually had her hair dyed red, and felt most like herself when it was red. She said that at the time in issue she had let her hair grow out without dye so that she could have it cut and donate it for charity. She said she had been excited that she would soon have the haircut and be able to dye her hair red again. She said it was at this time that the Registrant had spoken as alleged. She told the Panel that she had been so upset by what he had said that it was a long time before she had felt able to dye her hair red again.

64. In the signed notes of Colleague 1’s interview with JW, she is recorded as saying that she had been talking about dyeing her hair red when the Registrant asked her when she was doing this as red-haired people turned him on.

65. In CS’s written statement for the HCPC he stated: “on one occasion we had annual leave and [Colleague 1] was planning to dye her hair red. [The Registrant] must have overheard Colleague 1 saying this and he made a point to say ‘yeah, do that, I find red dead sexy’ or words to that effect. Because of how uncomfortable [the Registrant] made Colleague 1 feel, she intentionally did not dye her hair red.”

66. The Panel accepted Colleague 1’s account. On the basis of the evidence put before it, the Panel was satisfied that it was more likely than not that on a date between August 2016 and May 2018, the Registrant did ask Colleague 1 when she was going to dye her hair red, as red-haired people turned him on, or words to that effect.

Particular 1(h): On or around 11 May 2018, you pinched Colleague 1’s bottom and/or the top of Colleague 1’s leg – Proved

67. The Panel noted the evidence set out above and had particular regard to the evidence of Colleague 1. In her email of 6 June 2018, referred to above, Colleague 1 wrote: “The most recent occasion was just over 2 weeks ago, around 11th May, when [the Registrant] pinched the top of my leg, just below my bottom in the EOC when I had asked for some advice regarding a call.”

68. In her oral evidence, Colleague 1 told the Panel that the pinch had hurt and had lasted a couple of seconds. She said that the Registrant was looking at her as if nothing was going on. He didn’t say anything. It was as if he wasn’t connected to his own hand. Colleague 1 told the Panel that she had been scared and that the incident had made her feel lonely, upset, angry, and confused.

69. In the signed notes of Colleague 1’s interview with JW, she is recorded as saying that on 11 May 2018 she had needed a call assessing by a clinician and had gone to the Registrant’s desk for advice. When she had asked if he was free he had replied, “No, I charge.” She said he had pinched her left buttock area when she stood next to him. She said she had moved away from the Registrant and asked SS for permission to go to the toilet because, “I needed space to breathe, this was the first time he had done something like this in front of other people.”

70. In the signed notes of the Registrant’s interview with JW he is recorded as responding to JW’s question, which was: “On 11 May 2018 whilst you were at your work station did you pinch Colleague 1’s bottom?”. The Registrant’s response is recorded as “No way on this earth.”

71. The Panel accepted Colleague 1’s account. On the basis of the evidence put before it, the Panel was satisfied that it was more likely than not that on or around 11 May 2018, the Registrant did pinch Colleague 1’s bottom and/or the top of Colleague 1’s leg.

Particular 2

1. In relation to Colleague 3:

a) On an unknown date between August 2014 and February 2015, you rubbed your hand up and down Colleague 3’s back;

b) On one or more occasions between August 2014 and June 2018, you told Colleague 3 that she looked pretty, or words to that effect.

Particular 2(a): On an unknown date between August 2014 and February 2015, you rubbed your hand up and down Colleague 3’s back – Proved

72. The Panel had careful regard to Colleague 3’s witness statement prepared for the HCPC and to her oral evidence to the Panel. Colleague 3 told the Panel that she had worked with the Registrant for approximately five years as a Call Assessor.

73. Colleague 3 stated that between August 2014 and February 2015 she had called the Registrant over to her desk to assist with an emergency call she was handling. She stated: “The caller had been put on hold and could not hear the conversation I had with [the Registrant]. While I was explaining whatever it was that I had a problem with [the Registrant] came up behind me and started rubbing his hand up and down my back. I turned round and said ‘[the Registrant], please don’t do that, it’s not appropriate is it?’ or words to that effect. [The Registrant] stopped doing it and I carried on with the call…” The Panel noted that in Colleague 5’s signed notes of interview with JW on 4 July 2018, she is recorded as stating that she had heard Colleague 3 speak to the Registrant as described above.

74. In her oral evidence, Colleague 3 told the Panel: “I interpreted his rubbing my back as sexual. It was inappropriate. I didn’t like it. He was invading my space and it made me feel uncomfortable. I was forceful in telling him it was not appropriate. I was shocked that it happened.” Colleague 3 told the Panel that she had been married for 26 years and that she had meant every word of her marriage vows.

75. Colleague 3 stated: “A little while later on in the shift, [the Registrant] came up to me and stood on the side of me. He apologised if he had offended me, he said that he was very sorry and this had not been his intention ... at times I felt awkward around him because of what had happened. I was careful to keep the conversation very neutral or talk about my husband and son or about [the Registrant’s] wife and daughter. I discussed neutral things that he could not pick up on to make an advance at me. I was wary because of the previous incident. I did not want to give him any reason to think I was giving him any kind of come on.”

76. The Panel gave careful consideration to Colleague 3’s signed notes of interview with JW on 26 June 2018. In these she is recorded as stating: “I had always found [the Registrant] approachable and kind, but he made me feel embarrassed and uncomfortable for some unknown reason. I tried to avoid him where possible for this reason...Within 6 months of joining team 3, [the Registrant] assisted me with a call, he was stood next to me and started to rub his hand up and down my back, the call was on hold at the time, I said...’please don’t do that it’s not appropriate. I said it loud so other team members could hear. [The Registrant] then stopped. Later … [the Registrant] came up to me to apologise if he had upset me.”

77. The Panel also had careful regard to the Registrant’s signed notes of interview with JW on 11 July 2018. In these, JW is recorded as asking the Registrant: “In relation to Colleague 3, have you ever rubbed your hand up and down her back?”. The Registrant is recorded as responding: “When Colleague 3 joined the service she was very nervous, on one occasion I went over to help her and rubbed my hand over her back. She instantly told me she did not like me doing this. I instantly apologised and have never done it again. It was done in a friendly re-assuring way and was not sexual.”

78. The Panel accepted Colleague 3’s account. On the basis of the evidence put before it, the Panel was satisfied that it was more likely than not that on an unknown date between August 2014 and February 2015, the Registrant rubbed his hand up and down Colleague 3’s back.

Particular 2(b): On one or more occasions between August 2014 and June 2018, you told Colleague 3 that she looked pretty, or words to that effect – Proved

79. The Panel noted that in Colleague 3’s signed notes of interview with JW, she is recorded as stating: “On a few occasions [the Registrant] said I looked pretty.” In her witness statement for the HCPC, Colleague 3 stated that she wished to amend this part of the note because: “This is not exactly correct. What I meant by this was that if someone walked into the kitchen, including myself, [the Registrant] greeted them with ‘hello beautiful’ or ‘hello gorgeous’ or ‘ you look pretty today’ or words to that effect. These comments were not only directed at me, they were also directed at other female members of staff.”

80. In her oral evidence, Colleague 3 told the Panel: “He would make comments like this quite often, especially when seeing somebody for the first time that day. That was how he would greet a female member when they come in for the start of the day. It would be a bit over-friendly; there was an edge to it that made it more than just a friendly greeting, more like how you would greet a partner. It would make me uncomfortable. It was the look in his eye or the hugging of a person ... It was like he was testing the water to see how friendly he could get with somebody.”

81. The Panel had careful regard to the Registrant’s signed notes of interview with JW on 11 July 2018. These record him as stating, in relation to Colleague 3: “Sometimes I would make a compliment about her hair when she had it done, it was never sexual ... I had a lot of general conversation with Colleague 3 ... It was always about general things, family etc. There has never been any sexual comments or behaviour towards her.”

82. The Panel accepted Colleague 3’s account. On the basis of the evidence put before it, the Panel was satisfied that it was more likely than not that on one or more occasions between August 2014 and June 2018, the Registrant told Colleague 3 that she looked pretty, or words to that effect.

Particular 3

In relation to Colleague 4:

a) On one or more occasion between July 2016 and June 2018, you made comments about Colleague 4’s bottom.

b) On one or more occasion between July 2016 and June 2018, you grabbed, touched and/or squeezed Colleague 4’s bottom.

c) On a date between July 2016 and June 2018, you stated that Colleague 4’s bottom was really nice, but it would look better if you could bend her over, or words to that effect.

d) On one or more occasion between July 2016 and June 2018, you tried to kiss Colleague 4.

e) On one or more occasion between July 2016 and June 2018, you touched, rubbed and/or squeezed Colleague 4’s leg.

f) On a date between July 2016 and June 2018 you:

i) Touched, grabbed and/or fondled Colleague 4’s breast; and/or

ii) Touched Colleague 4’s crotch.

g) On one or more occasion between July 2016 and June 2018, you told Colleague 4 that she made you hard, or words to that effect.

h) On approximately two occasions between July 2016 and June 2018, you:

i) Rubbed your penis, over your trousers;

ii) Told Colleague 4 you were hard, or words to that effect; and/or
 
iii) Told Colleague 4 you wanted her, or words to that effect.

i) On a date between July 2016 and June 20128, you:

i)Exposed yourself to Colleague 4; and/or

ii) Asked Colleague 4 to kiss your penis.

83. The Panel had careful regard to Colleague 4’s written statement for the HCPC and also to her oral evidence. She stated that she had been employed as a Call Assessor in the EOC at WMAS for just over two years, and that the Registrant had worked on almost every shift she did.

84. In Colleague 4’s account of matters written for the purpose of her 26 June 2018 interview with JW, she stated that during the first weeks when she joined Team 3: “[The Registrant] began making occasional comments about my appearance, sometimes when other staff were around but sometimes when I was alone in the kitchen with him. Initially the remarks were friendly, pleasant, flirtatious, flattering, joking, but never too personal ... [the Registrant’s] comments became more personal and inappropriate especially when alone in the kitchen.” In this account Colleague 4 stated: “On several occasions [the Registrant] remarked that he wasn’t sexually harassing me, just that he couldn’t help that he really liked me and that everything was okay.”

85. Colleague 4 stated: “I had mentioned early on during my training/probation to some colleagues about [the Registrant’s] comments towards me and his overly ambitious flirting, along with the first time he grabbed my bottom in the kitchen ... I felt very worried as I had told him that I wasn’t interested and to stop. I told him that I didn’t want him to touch me. I did not want to come forward formally about [the Registrant’s] behaviour towards me ... it appeared that his behaviour was tolerated or overlooked ... I felt awkward and uncomfortable about making any formal complaint as I was still on probation and I loved my job; I didn’t want to jeopardise that.”

86. Colleague 4 stated that after she had been interviewed by JW and CC and had agreed to write out her own account of what had happened: “Everything came flooding out; that is what shocked me. I did not realise how bad it was until I collated it together on paper ... It happened so often but I’d blocked it out to enable me to keep working so I didn’t lose my job.”

87. In her written statement for the HCPC, Colleague 4 explained how the process of producing her written account for WMAS had affected her.

88. In her written statement for the HCPC, Colleague 4 explained why she had not reported the Registrant’s conduct towards her at an early stage. She stated: “It felt as if [the Registrant] was so high up compared to me, had friends in high places and was untouchable. He had been with the service for what I believed was approximately 20 years and I was a new recruit. I just thought there was no point.” During the course of her oral evidence, in answer to a question from the Panel as to whether she had ever thought about reporting the matter to the Police, Colleague 4 said that her family had told her she should go to the Police and she had carefully considered doing so. However, when she had raised this with a manager at WMAS she was told, “think carefully because of the confidentiality clause in your contract.”

89. In his written statement for the HCPC, JW said of his interview with Colleague 4 that it was: “a very difficult interview and it appeared to me that Colleague 4’s interactions with [the Registrant] impacted her massively both personally and professionally.”

90. In the signed notes of his 11 July 2018 interview with JW, after responding to each of the allegations in respect of his conduct towards Colleague 4, the Registrant is recorded as saying: “Colleague 4 can be nasty and crude. She is very flirtatious with other males.”

Particular 3(a): On one or more occasion between July 2016 and June 2018, you made comments about C4’s bottom – Proved

91. In Colleague 4’s account of matters written for the purposes of her 26 June 2018 interview with JW, she stated: “[The Registrant’s] comments became more personal and inappropriate especially when alone in the kitchen. [The Registrant] remarked about my bum when I was bending over and his comments became more sexual in nature.”

92. In her written statement for the HCPC, Colleague 4 stated: “[The Registrant] repeatedly made comments about my bum when I was at work. He told me that my bum was really nice on many occasions over the two year period from July 2016 to June 2018.” Colleague 4 stated that on one occasion, the Registrant said: “ ‘I am really glad you sat there because I get to stare at your bum more’, or words to that effect ... [The Registrant] made this comment quite early on after I joined the team ... [the Registrant] normally made his comments to me in private but if people were around, then he would say it very quietly when in very close proximity, leaning across you to get something or slowing when walking past so nobody else ever heard. [The Registrant] appeared to be sneaky in my view, devious but as if he thrived on the excitement of it all, getting away with it. If there were people about, he would sit next to you or come close to you before he said something inappropriate ... I always tried to take the desk on the far side of the desk pods furthest away from him. [The Registrant] said he would get a better view of my arse if I stood at one of the desks nearest to him.”

93. The Panel noted that in the signed notes of his 11 July 2018 interview with JW, the Registrant is recorded as having been asked if, in relation to Colleague 4, he had made any personal comments of a sexual nature like, “your bum looks nice”. He is recorded as having replied “No”.

94. The Panel accepted Colleague 4’s account. On the basis of all the evidence put before it, the Panel was satisfied that it was more likely than not that on one or more occasions between July 2016 and June 2018, the Registrant made comments about Colleague 4’s bottom.

Particular 3(b): On one or more occasion between July 2016 and June 2018, you grabbed, touched and/or squeezed Colleague 4’s bottom – Proved

95. In Colleague 4’s account of matters written for the purposes of her 26 June 2018 interview with JW, she stated “There was another incident in the kitchen around the time I was just finishing my mentoring ... he stepped in close and grabbed around my bum with both hands, squeezing and gripping my bum saying how good it felt. This lasted a few seconds and surprised/shocked me ... I was horrified by what he’d done.”

96. In her written statement for the HCPC, Colleague 4 stated that the Registrant: “... touched my bum a number of times. This was not just a one-off, [the Registrant] did this regularly ... The first time he grabbed me in the kitchen ... it was around the time I was being mentored or just after I passed and went solo, end of August 2016 to end of September 2016 ... At this point, he had only made verbal remarks towards me. [The Registrant] got up from the table ... he reached past/round me he then stepped directly in front and put his other hand around and grabbed my bottom with both hands. I immediately pushed him off. As he grabbed my bottom, he said ‘ooh that feels good.’ I pushed him off and said very clearly ‘don’t do that’ and I left the room.”

97. The Panel noted that in the signed notes of his 11 July 2018 interview with JW, the Registrant is recorded as having been asked: “Have you ever touched or groped Colleague 4’s bum?”. He is recorded as having replied “No”.

98. The Panel accepted Colleague 4’s account. On the basis of all the evidence put before it, the Panel was satisfied that it was more likely than not that on one or more occasion between July 2016 and June 2018, the Registrant grabbed, touched and/or squeezed Colleague 4’s bottom.

Particular 3(c): On a date between July 2016 and June 2018, you stated that Colleague 4’s bottom was really nice, but it would look better if you could bend her over, or words to that effect – Proved

99. In Colleague 4’s account of matters written for the purposes of her 26 June 2018 interview with JW, she stated, “One comment was about how my bum was really nice but it would look better if he could bend me over.”

100. In her written statement for the HCPC, Colleague 4 stated that the Registrant “...said that my bum looked nice and that he would like to see me bending over a table. This made me feel sick, disgusted, uncomfortable, vulnerable, a little scared and anxious.”

101. The Panel noted that in the signed notes of his 11 July 2018 interview with JW, the Registrant is recorded as having been asked, in respect of Colleague 4, “Have you ever said her bum would look better if she was bent over in front of you?”. He is recorded as having replied “No”.

102. The Panel accepted Colleague 4’s account. On the basis of all the evidence put before it, the Panel was satisfied that it was more likely than not that on a date between July 2016 and June 2018, the Registrant stated that Colleague 4’s bottom was really nice, but it would look better if he could bend her over, or words to that effect.

Particular 3(d): On one or more occasion between July 2016 and June 2018, you tried to kiss Colleague 4 – Proved

103. In Colleague 4’s account of matters written for the purposes of her 26 June 2018 interview with JW, she described an occasion when “I was sat in the kitchen on my break eating lunch. I was alone in the kitchen until [the Registrant] came in. He/we exchanged a few pleasantries and he came over to me from behind. As I turned to say something he leaned over towards me and tried to kiss me. I turned away and he stood back up and moved away. He tried to kiss me on several occasions always in the kitchen and once in the corridor by the kitchen doorway. This always came at an unexpected moment and took me by surprise. After one of these attempts to kiss me when he was standing close in front of me I said I didn’t think his wife would like or appreciate hearing that he was doing these things. He said no and that he only said/did them because he really liked me and thought I was sexy. I said I still don’t think it’s fair to your wife or to me or my partner and that I’d told him about what [the Registrant] had done and he wasn’t happy.”

104. In her written statement for the HCPC, Colleague 4 stated: “I would avoid [the Registrant] as much as possible but he would still manage to follow me out of the control room or linger by the toilet doors in the corridor and pass comments and try to grab and kiss me. Something he used to say often was ‘I can’t help it’, or words to that effect, and ‘I can’t stop myself’, or words to that effect ... [The Registrant] also landed kisses on my face on a couple of occasions when he caught me off guard ... He would come in close and then try to kiss me. He took me by surprise every time, you just never knew what to expect ... all of a sudden, he would come in for the kiss and take me by surprise ... [the Registrant] made a lot of attempts to kiss me where he grabbed me if I was passing him in the corridor. Most things happened in two places; the canteen/kitchen or the corridor outside the kitchen. There were occasions when I would be sat at the table and [the Registrant] would walk behind me. I would turn to look and he would try to plant a kiss on me. Things like that happened a lot ... Whenever [the Registrant] tried to kiss me, I would always try to move away.”

105. The Panel noted that in the signed notes of his 11 July 2018 interview with JW, the Registrant is recorded as having been asked “Have you ever tried to kiss Colleague 4?”. He is recorded as having replied “No, why would I try to kiss her?”.

106. The Panel accepted Colleague 4’s account. On the basis of all the evidence put before it, the Panel was satisfied that it was more likely than not that on one or more occasion between July 2016 and June 2018, the Registrant tried to kiss Colleague 4.

Particular 3(e): On one or more occasion between July 2016 and June 2018, you touched, rubbed and/or squeezed Colleague 4’s leg – Proved

107. In Colleague 4’s account of matters written for the purposes of her 26 June 2018 interview with JW, she stated “On two or three occasions [the Registrant] touched and rubbed or squeezed my leg whilst I was sat in the kitchen over at the table with other staff present. Sometimes when in the Control Room, the CSD can come over and assist with a call. [The Registrant] would often kneel down at the side of my chair resting his hand on my arm or leg. This seems to be normal for him and I have seen him do this with other members of staff (only females).”

108. In her written statement for the HCPC, Colleague 4 stated “[The Registrant] also touched and squeezed my leg a number of times. These were not one-off actions. On one particular occasion, I was in the kitchen with a lot of other people...There was a free chair next to me and [the Registrant] sat on it ... I moved my chair to the left to get more distance between me and [the Registrant]. He then scooted closer to me and then leant forward. I was eating at the time. The next thing I knew, [the Registrant] had his hand on my leg and was squeezing my leg under the table. I pushed his hand off and made an excuse to go to the toilet or put the kettle on or something. I freaked out and moved away. I did not want to look like an idiot jumping up and shouting even though I wanted to ... Another occasion when [the Registrant] touched my leg [was] in the control room ... he would always come to the side of me and kneel down, sometimes putting his hand on my leg as he knelt down or got up ... but his hand was always a bit higher up my leg and he would give my leg a bit of a squeeze. It was more than just pushing himself up off the floor ... When you are on an emergency call, you are talking to someone who is in crisis so you cannot suddenly shriek out or do anything; you must continue with the call in a professional and self-controlled manner ... you have got people’s lives hanging in the balance on the phone...”

109. The Panel noted that in the signed notes of his 11 July 2018 interview with JW, the Registrant is recorded as having been asked, in relation to Colleague 4, “Have you ever touched or [sic] her leg or inner thigh?”. He is recorded as having replied “No”.

110. The Panel accepted Colleague 4’s account. On the basis of all the evidence put before it, the Panel was satisfied that it was more likely than not that on one or more occasion between July 2016 and June 2018, the Registrant touched, rubbed and/or squeezed Colleague 4’s leg.

Particular 3(f): On a date between July 2016 and June 2018 you:

i) Touched, grabbed and/or fondled Colleague 4’s breast; and/or – Proved

ii) Touched Colleague 4’s crotch – Proved

111. In Colleague 4’s account of matters written for the purposes of her 26 June 2018 interview with JW, she stated “One time I was in the kitchen ... [the Registrant] said he couldn’t stop thinking about me and I said that he would have to stop. I got up from the table and went to wash my dishes in the sink. Whilst washing up he had approached me from behind and he reached round with one hand grabbing and fondling my breast and his other hand went in between my legs, groping around my crotch. I stopped what I was doing and pushed him away with my arm whilst turning around and asked him ‘what the fuck are you doing?’ ... He didn’t seem concerned or bothered by my reaction...”

112. In her written statement for the HCPC, Colleague 4 said of this incident: “It was horrific ... I did not realise that [the Registrant] was then the only one left in the room and I had my back to him ... Before I knew it, he had put one arm around my top half around my front like a bear hug and he was standing behind me. I’m quite small; I am five foot three inches tall. [The Registrant] is a well-built, tall and solid man ... I think his left hand was on my top half, grabbing and squeezing my breast. [The Registrant’s] other hand went straight to my crotch and he gripped and groped my crotch ... I was trying to push him off and I started to bend and wriggle and turn around. I managed to turn to face him and he was still gripping me, smiling ... His hand was now on my bum as I had turned around and I ended up pushing him off me ... It scared the living crap out of me because he was groaning from behind me and then grinning when I turned to face him.”

113. The Panel noted that in the signed notes of his 11 July 2018 interview with JW, the Registrant is recorded as having been asked, in relation to Colleague 4, “Have you ever touched, groped or fondled her breasts?” and “Have you ever touched, groped or fondled her genital area?”. To both questions, he is recorded as having replied “No”.

114. The Panel accepted Colleague 4’s account. On the basis of all the evidence put before it, the Panel was satisfied that it was more likely than not that on a date between July 2016 and June 2018 the Registrant: i) touched, grabbed and/or fondled Colleague 4’s breast; and ii) touched Colleague 4’s crotch.

Particular 3(g): On one or more occasion between July 2016 and June 2018, you told Colleague 4 that she made you hard, or words to that effect – Proved

115. In Colleague 4’s account of matters written for the purposes of her 26 June 2018 interview with JW, she stated that the Registrant “kept making comments about how much he liked me, that I made him hard (erect penis) ... This went on for months and I kept saying he needed to stop and whatever he wanted was never going to happen ... He’d just say what did I expect, that he couldn’t help it, that I made him hard and he couldn’t stop thinking about me.”

116. In her written statement for the HCPC, Colleague 4 said that the Registrant had told her “approximately three or four times” that she made him hard, or words to that effect. She stated “I told him that I was not interested, that I was never going to be interested...”

117. The Panel noted that in the signed notes of his 11 July 2018 interview with JW, the Registrant is recorded as having been asked, in relation to Colleague 4, “Have you ever said she has made you hard in a sexual nature?”. He is recorded as having replied “No”.

118. The Panel accepted Colleague 4’s account. On the basis of all the evidence put before it, the Panel was satisfied that it was more likely than not that on one or more occasion between July 2016 and June 2018, the Registrant had told Colleague 4 that she made him hard, or words to that effect.

Particular 3(h): On approximately two occasions between July 2016 and June 2018, you:

i) Rubbed your penis, over your trousers; – Proved

ii) Told Colleague 4 you were hard, or words to that effect; and/or – Proved

iii) Told Colleague 4 you wanted her, or words to that effect – Proved

119. In Colleague 4’s account of matters written for the purposes of her 26 June 2018 interview with JW, she stated: “I was in the kitchen on two occasions when [the Registrant] was talking to me and then he began rubbing himself (his penis) with his hand. This was all whilst I was trying to eat dinner on my break and he would grab himself through his trousers, showing me and telling me how hard he was. All the time he was making sexual innuendoes and talking about what he thought of me and how he wanted me ... On another specific occasion he was talking and rubbing his dick on the outside of his trousers from about 8 feet away across the kitchen.”

120. In her written statement for the HCPC, Colleague 4 said, “On two occasions in the kitchen, [the Registrant] was rubbing himself through his trousers while I was in the kitchen. He was telling me how ‘hard’ he was and that he ‘wanted’ me ... [The Registrant] told me that he ‘wanted me’ many times ... I would just ignore it and literally blank him or I would say ‘fuck’s sake, shut up’ or words to that effect ... As soon as [the Registrant] walked in to the break room, I would get my things and walk out. This became the norm if I was alone.”

121. The Panel noted that in the signed notes of his 11 July 2018 interview with JW, the Registrant is recorded as having been asked, in relation to Colleague 4, “Have you ever stood in front of her rubbing your penis over your trousers?”. He is recorded as having replied “No”.

122. The Panel accepted Colleague 4’s account. On the basis of all the evidence put before it, the Panel was satisfied that it was more likely than not that on approximately two occasions between July 2016 and June 2018, the Registrant: i) rubbed his penis, over his trousers; ii) told Colleague 4 he was hard, or words to that effect; and iii) told Colleague 4 he wanted her, or words to that effect.

Particular 3(i): On a date between July 2016 and June 2018, you:

i) Exposed yourself to Colleague 4; and/or – Proved

ii) Asked Colleague 4 to kiss your penis – Proved

123. In Colleague 4’s account of matters written for the purposes of her 26 June 2018 interview with JW, she described an incident with the Registrant in the kitchen. “I was sat eating and he started talking in a sexual way and then pulled his dick out of his trousers exposing himself and showing off his erection. He continued touching himself whilst telling me to kiss it, to just kiss the end of it. This all seemed to happen so quickly and as I was sitting down his dick (penis) was just inches away from my face. I said no and moved to get up saying something about him putting me off my food and said I was going to the toilet. When I got up he put himself away.”

124. In her written statement for the HCPC, Colleague 4 said: “On one occasion, [the Registrant] took out his penis in the canteen and waved it in my face and asked me to kiss it. Within seconds, his penis was in my face and he said ‘just kiss it’ and ‘just kiss the end of it’ or words to that effect. It all happened so quickly. I was sat at the table at the time eating on my break and his penis was at eye level with me. It was right in my face ... When he put his penis near my face, I shoved my chair back and got up and moved. I ran out of the room and straight across into the ladies locker room/bathroom.”

125. The Panel noted that in the signed notes of his 11 July 2018 interview with JW, the Registrant is recorded as having been asked, in relation to Colleague 4, “Have you ever exposed your penis to her?” and “ Have you ever asked her to kiss or touch your penis?”. He is recorded as having replied “No” to both questions.

126. The Panel accepted Colleague 4’s account. On the basis of all the evidence put before it, the Panel was satisfied that it was more likely than not that on a date between July 2016 and June 2018, the Registrant: i) exposed himself to Colleague 4; and ii) asked Colleague 4 to kiss his penis.

Particular 4

In relation to Colleague 5:

a) On more than one occasion between July 2015 and July 2018, you touched Colleague 5’s leg;

b) On more than one occasion between July 2015 and July 2018, you touched Colleague 5’s hand;

c) On more than one occasion between July 2015 and July 2018, you hugged and/or kissed Colleague 5 on the cheek.

d)  On more than one occasion between July 2015 and July 2018, you told Colleague 5 that her breasts looked nice or words to that effect.

127. In the signed note of Colleague 5’s interview with JW on 4 July 2018, she is recorded as indicating that she had worked as a Senior Call Assessor on Team 3 for three years. She stated, “Over the past 3 years, on occasions when [the Registrant] has had to assist me with calls he would come over to my desk, crouch down next to me and put his hand on my leg. Other times he would lean over and put his hand on top of my hand. I once went into the kitchen I was on my own [the Registrant] hugged me face to face and kissed me on the cheek. I told [the Registrant] I didn’t think this was appropriate. There has been a couple of occasions he has hugged me in the kitchen. This is completely unwanted and not encouraged. He also made inappropriate comments towards me like my breasts look nice in that top. He would often look me up and down. His behaviour towards me made me feel humiliated and intimidated. I have witnessed [the Registrant] with other female call assessors, mainly the new members of staff, touching their leg and invading their personal space.”

128. In her written statement for the HCPC, Colleague 5 said that in the three years she worked with the Registrant, she worked with him on every shift because they were in the same team. She stated, “I would feel intimidated by [the Registrant] when he came too close and made comments. It made me feel humiliated and uncomfortable. I just wanted to go into the kitchen to make a cup of tea and [the Registrant] would come and make inappropriate comments to me.”

Particular 4(a): On more than one occasion between July 2015 and July 2018, you touched Colleague 5’s leg - Proved

129. Colleague 5 stated in her written statement for the HCPC: “On the occasion when [the Registrant] touched my leg, I was sitting down in the control room and he was kneeling beside me. It was not just one hand on my leg, he was rubbing his hand up and down my leg. I said ‘do you think that’s appropriate?’ and he said ‘no no that’s fine, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have’, or words to that effect.”

Particular 4(b): On more than one occasion between July 2015 and July 2018, you touched Colleague 5’s hand - Proved

130. Colleague 5 told the Panel in her oral evidence how the Registrant would lean over her and place his hand on top of hers when assisting her with calls. She demonstrated how he would do so and told the Panel that this would occur regularly. She said, “I would move my hand away but not say anything.”

Particular 4(c): On more than one occasion between July 2015 and July 2018, you hugged and/or kissed Colleague 5 on the cheek.- Proved

131. Colleague 5 stated in her written statement for the HCPC, “There was one occasion in the kitchen when [the Registrant] tried to kiss my cheek. I was standing at the sink and as I turned around, he put his hands around me while I was facing him and he tried to kiss my cheek. I put my hands up between him and my face and I did not say anything. I think he got the message that it was inappropriate. He said ‘I wouldn’t upset my wife by doing anything like that’, or words to that effect.”

Particular 4(d): On more than one occasion between July 2015 and July 2018, you told Colleague 5 that her breasts looked nice or words to that effect - Proved

132. Colleague 5 stated in her written statement for the HCPC, “[The Registrant] said that my breasts ‘looked nice in that top’ or words to that effect. He said this when I was wearing a standard work shirt ... It was something that made me feel uncomfortable but I brushed it off at the time. [The Registrant] made this comment when we were in the kitchen and there was no one else there. On one occasion, I was on my break at the time and I think [the Registrant] was making general small talk with me and then made this comment. It was totally unwarranted but he thought it was okay to say that.”

133. In her written statement for the HCPC, Colleague 5 also stated, “I noted that [the Registrant] would stand close to my colleagues and get in their personal space when they needed help ... [the Registrant] would crouch beside the call taker, putting his hands on them, either on their shoulder or on their leg ... He usually did this with the newer members of staff ... I saw the Registrant do this fairly regularly, maybe once per month ... I noticed this behaviour throughout the time that I have worked with [the Registrant] which was for three years ... He spoke to the women much more than the men. He never appeared to have any real interaction with any of the men in the team; it was always the women.”

134. The Panel noted that in the signed notes of his 11 July 2018 interview with JW, the Registrant is recorded as having this exchange with JW in relation to Colleague 5:

JW: “In relation to Colleague 5, have you ever placed your hand on her leg?”

Registrant: “Not knowingly.”

JW: “Have you ever placed your hand on her arm?”

Registrant: “Not that I am aware of and not intentionally.”

JW: “Have you ever hugged her?”

Registrant: “There was an occasion I placed my arm around her in a friendly manner, not a sexual manner.”

JW: “Have you ever attempted to kiss Colleague 5?”

Registrant: “No, she kissed me once on the cheek … I seen this as friendly and comforting due to the circumstances.”

JW: “Have you ever made any inappropriate comments of a personal sexual nature, such as about her breasts?”

Registrant: “[Colleague 5] comes across as naïve. On one occasion she took her jumper off right next to me and I made a comment meant in banter, something along the lines of ‘Christ [Colleague 5] you nearly had my eye out’. This was not meant in a sexual way.”

135. The Panel accepted Colleague 5’s account. On the basis of all the evidence put before it, the Panel was satisfied that it was more likely than not that on more than one occasion between July 2015 and July 2018, the Registrant touched Colleague 5’s leg; and that on more than one occasion between July 2015 and July 2018, the Registrant touched Colleague 5’s hand; and that on more than one occasion between July 2015 and July 2018, the Registrant hugged and/or kissed Colleague 5 on the cheek; and that on more than one occasion between July 2015 and July 2018, the Registrant told Colleague 5 that her breasts looked nice or words to that effect.

Particular 5

In relation to Colleague 6:

a)  On one or more occasion between November 2014 and July 2018, you said to Colleague 6 ‘your arse looks nice today’, or words to that effect. - Proved

b)  On one or more occasion between November 2014 and July 2018, you touched Colleague 6’s hand and/or arm. - Proved
 
136. In the signed note of Colleague 6’s interview with JW on 4 July 2018, she is recorded as indicating that she had worked as a Call Assessor on Team 3 for five years. She stated, “I have always got on well with [the Registrant]. He would on occasions make comments about my arse like ‘your arse looks nice today’. I would always try and laugh it off and say to [the Registrant] just behave. I just thought it’s just [the Registrant] that’s how he is. On occasions when [the Registrant] has assisted me with calls he would come over to my desk and touch my hand and forearm. Sometimes he would put his hand on top of mine when I was using the computer mouse. No other male colleagues in the control room would make inappropriate comments about my arse or touch me.”

137. In relation to inappropriate comments from the Registrant, Colleague 6 stated in her written statement for the HCPC that he would say, ‘Oh your arse looks nice today’, or words to that effect twice in one shift sometimes. I would say ‘oh god, get over yourself’, or words to that effect and try to brush it off. It was not a one-off incident; [the Registrant] made this remark as and when he felt like it. It was a comment that he made regularly to me. Sometimes it made me feel embarrassed. I always thought ‘It’s just [the Registrant], tell him to behave and brush it off’, so I would tell him to stop and [the Registrant] would stop straight away. He would not push any further until another occasion when he would do the same thing again ... I do not think anyone ever heard him say this to me because it appeared to me that he was always clever enough to say it quietly or close by so that others could not hear him.”

138. In relation to touching by the Registrant, Colleague 6 stated in her written statement for the HCPC: “[The Registrant] touched my arm and hand on a number of occasions; it was fairly regular but not as regular as the comments ... I felt uncomfortable when he touched my arm and hand. [The Registrant] came across as a person who was ‘touchy-feely’ but it was not as though he was only putting his hand on my shoulder if we were laughing and joking around, he would touch my arm and forearm. If my hand was on the computer mouse, he would put his hand on top of mine. It was more than just a friendly tap on the shoulder when you’re having a laugh with a colleague.”

139. In her oral evidence to the Panel, Colleague 6 said she had not felt any need to report the Registrant’s conduct towards her because she had dealt with the matter herself. She said the Registrant was an opportunist who would only make inappropriate comments to her when there was no one else around to hear what he said. She said his comments were sexual and inappropriate and that sometimes the Registrant would just whisper them. She told the Panel, “I didn’t need to hear these comments.” She said they were highly inappropriate but she did not find them threatening.

140. In her oral evidence, Colleague 6 told the Panel that when the Registrant touched her arm and hand it would be “an inappropriate stroke which was not to comfort me or anything like that.” She characterised the touching as “lingering”, and said “none of my friends, family or colleagues would stroke my arm in that way.” She told the Panel, “there was the odd occasion when I would see him put his hand on someone else’s on a mouse.”

141. The Panel noted that in the signed notes of his 11 July 2018 interview with JW, the Registrant is recorded as having this exchange with JW in relation to Colleague 6:

JW: “In relation to Colleague 6 have you ever made any personal comments of a sexual nature, in particular comments about her bum?”

Registrant: “No.”

JW: “Have you ever touched her hand or forearm or attempted to hold her hand?”

Registrant: “No ... I have known her for several years and see her as a friend ... She has never raised any concerns to me at all.”

142. The Panel accepted Colleague 6’s account. On the basis of all the evidence put before it, the Panel was satisfied that it was more likely than not that on one or more occasion between November 2014 and July 2018, the Registrant said to Colleague 6 “your arse looks nice today”, or words to that effect; on one or more occasion between November 2014 and July 2018, the Registrant touched Colleague 6’s hand and/or arm.

Particular 6

6. In relation to Colleague 7:

a) On a date in or around April 2015, you touched and/or squeezed Colleague 7’s bottom. - Proved

143. The Panel had careful regard to Colleague 7’s written statement for the HCPC and also to her oral evidence. She stated that she had been employed as a Call Assessor in the EOC at WMAS for just over two years, and that she and the Registrant had worked in the same team in the same room.

144. Colleague 7 stated, “On a date in or around April 2015, [the Registrant] touched and hit my bottom. He hit my bottom once with reasonable force but without causing an injury. It was enough force to feel uncomfortable. Both [the Registrant] and I were in the kitchen at the time ... He did not say anything before he did it, he just hit my bum. There was no one else in the kitchen at this time.”

145. Colleague 7 stated, “When [the Registrant] hit my bum, it made me feel embarrassed and a bit violated. It was not something that should be happening at work. I have a partner and [the Registrant] knew that I had a partner. It felt like a breach of trust from a colleague.”

146. Colleague 7 told the Panel that she had reported the matter to a supervisor and had then sent an email about the incident to AG, the EOC Commander. The Panel had careful regard to an email dated 4 May 2015 from Colleague 7 to AG. This stated: “I have been asked to formally report an incident that happened a couple of weeks ago ... I have always been quite friendly with [the Registrant], however I believe that he overstepped the mark. We were both on a break together and whilst walking into the kitchen ... he placed his hand on my buttocks and squeezed...”

147. The Panel noted that in his written statement for the HCPC and in his oral evidence to the Panel, CS had said, “In terms of first-hand experience of seeing [the Registrant’s] attitude towards my female colleagues, I noticed that he would mainly sit inappropriately close to them. I saw him behave this way towards Colleague 1, Colleague 4 and Colleague 7.”

148. The Panel noted that in the signed notes of his 11 July 2018 interview with JW, the Registrant is recorded as having been asked by JW if he had ever been spoken to by the Trust about inappropriate behaviour towards female colleagues, and if he recalled a meeting of 12 May 2015 with AG and VW concerning allegations of sexual harassment. The Panel noted that he was recorded as having responded that he had been spoken to “a couple of years ago, it was not formal and nothing came of it ... and I did not do it.”

149. The Panel accepted Colleague 6’s account. On the basis of all the evidence put before it, the Panel was satisfied that it was more likely than not on a date in or around April 2015, the Registrant had touched and/or squeezed Colleague 7’s bottom.

Particular 7

7. In relation to Colleague 2:

a) In or around January-February 1999, you:

i. pushed her to the floor of the ambulance;

ii. jumped on top of her;

iii. simulated sex and/or ground your pelvis into hers;

b) On an unknown date in 2000, you unzipped Colleague 2’s jumpsuit to the waist;

c) On an unknown date in 2000, you:

i. put your face close to the face of a patient;

ii. made one or more comments to the patient about her looking good for her age and/or that she was beautiful;

d) On an unknown date between January and June 20018, you reminded Colleague 2 that you had unzipped her jumpsuit in 2000.

Application to admit the hearsay evidence of Colleague 2

150. Ms Bagott told the Panel that Colleague 2 was not in attendance. She applied to admit Colleague 2’s witness statement as hearsay evidence. She reminded the Panel that Rule 10(1)(b) of the Rules provides that “subject to sub-paragraph (c) the rules on admissibility of evidence that apply in civil proceedings … shall apply.” She submitted that Colleague 2’s witness statement was admissible under the Civil Procedure Rules, but that even if it were not, Rule 10(1)(c) allowed the Panel to receive evidence which would not be admissible in civil proceedings if it was satisfied that admission of that evidence was necessary in order to protect members of the public.

151. Ms Bagott submitted that the starting point in HCPC proceedings, which have at their root the protection of the public and wider public interest considerations, is that hearsay evidence is admissible. She told the Panel that case law sets out the following principles in respect of admitting hearsay evidence in disciplinary proceedings: 

• Admissibility is subject to relevance and fairness;

• There is no absolute rule entitling a person facing disciplinary proceedings to cross-examine a witness;

• What is fair is fact sensitive and will depend on the circumstances, particularly the nature and subject matter of proceedings;

• If the maker of the statement is not present to be cross-examined, it is open to the Panel to admit the statement but give reduced weight to the evidence within it;

• The existence of a good and cogent reason for the non-attendance of the witness is an important factor, but the absence of a good reason will not automatically result in exclusion of the evidence;

• The courts have been reluctant to uphold decisions to admit hearsay evidence where (i) the evidence is disputed, and (ii) the hearsay evidence in question is the sole or decisive evidence in relation to the matter/s alleged.

152. Ms Bagott submitted that, while the Registrant was neither present nor represented, the guidance provided in the NMC case of El Karout did not preclude the Panel from admitting Colleague 2’s hearsay evidence. She said that case was clearly distinguished from the circumstances of this case. In particular, the hearsay material in this case was a properly sworn witness statement whose contents were consistent with the account given by Colleague 2 in her investigatory interview with JW; the hearsay did not consist of recounting the accounts of others, but rather her own account of her own interactions with the Registrant. Ms Bagott submitted that in these circumstances there could be no reasonable suggestion that, in producing a formal witness statement, Colleague 2 would not have appreciated the solemnity of the occasion or the importance of giving a truthful and accurate account. For that reason, the risk of unfairness which arose in the circumstances of El Karout simply did not feature in the present case.

153. Ms Bagott submitted that even if the hearsay evidence was the sole and decisive evidence in respect of the allegations covered by Colleague 2’s statement, that would not necessarily preclude the Panel from admitting it. Rather, the correct approach was to weigh in the balance all the relevant factors, including those set out in the NMC case of Thorneycroft. She submitted that the hearsay evidence spoke to conduct which falls on the highest spectrum of seriousness and demonstrated a pattern of behaviour tantamount to a sexual assault. She submitted that, taking into account the protection of the public and wider public interest considerations, Colleague 2’s statement was admissible as hearsay evidence.

154. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, who took no issue with Ms Bagott’s analysis of current case law.

155. At the Panel’s request, Ms Bagott provided it with copies of recent email correspondence between the HCPC and Colleague 2 in relation to her attendance in person or by way of videolink. On 5 February 2020 the HCPC had emailed Colleague 2 referring to a previous message that she had been “signed off sick”, wishing her a quick recovery and stating, “I understand that you have been signed off for another six weeks, and this is likely to make it difficult for you to travel to London for the hearing. However, would you be able to give evidence by videolink from your home, or by telephone?”

156. The Panel had careful regard to further correspondence between the HCPC and Colleague 2 on 11 February 2020.

157. The Panel had no doubt that the evidence contained within Colleague 2’s witness statement was highly relevant to the facts alleged in relation to herself and the conduct of the Registrant directly observed by herself. The Panel considered that fairness to both the Registrant and the Regulator was central to its decision as to whether or not the witness statement should be admitted into evidence. The Panel considered the relevant case law in relation to this application, and was mindful that the admission of the statement of an absent witness should not be regarded as a routine matter. In determining the balance of fairness in this case, the Panel had particular regard to the following factors:

• The seriousness of those allegations against the Registrant which were covered by Colleague 2’s witness statement, and the potential impact on the Registrant of adverse findings by the Panel in respect of those allegations;

• The importance of the witness statement to the HCPC case;

• The nature of and extent to which the contents of the witness statement appeared to be challenged by the Registrant;

• The potential impact on the Registrant’s defence if the statement was admitted into evidence, given that the Registrant had chosen to absent himself from the hearing;

• The reasonableness of Colleague 2’s decision not to attend the hearing in person or by way of videolink;

• The nature and extent of the efforts made by the HCPC to secure or facilitate the provision of live evidence by Colleague 2.

158. In the Panel’s view, Colleague 2’s witness statement was a vital part of the HCPC case in respect of Particular 7. It noted, however, that in relation to particular 7(c) and Patient A, whose identity is unknown, the only reference in the entire bundle of documents put before it was contained in paragraphs 13-16 of the HCPC witness statement of Colleague 2. The notes of the Registrant’s interview with JW, for example, make no mention of the patient. In these circumstances, the Panel had no doubt that, in the absence of Colleague 2, the balance of fairness fell against admitting paragraphs 13-16 of her witness statement into evidence.

159. In respect of paragraphs 13-16 of Colleague 2’s witness statement, the Panel refused Ms Bagott’s application. It then went on to consider her application in respect of the balance of the statement.

160. The Panel accepted Ms Bagott’s submissions, including her assertion that the seriousness of the allegations against the Registrant in relation to Colleague 2 demonstrated a pattern of behaviour tantamount to a sexual assault. It also recognised the potential impact on the Registrant of adverse findings of fact in this case. However, it considered that the HCPC had made reasonable efforts to facilitate and secure the attendance of Colleague 2 and that, in the circumstances of the case, it would have been entirely inappropriate for the HCPC to seek to put any further pressure on an apparently vulnerable witness. Further, it considered that in light of the content of the witness statement and the correspondence between Colleague 2 and the HCPC in relation to her non-attendance, she had provided good and cogent reasons for that non-attendance.

161. The Panel noted that the allegations in respect of Colleague 2 had reportedly been put to the Registrant in the course of his 11 July 2018 interview with JW, and his reported responses had been put before the Panel. In the Panel’s view, any disadvantage to the Registrant of admitting into evidence those parts of the witness statement which dealt with particulars 7(a), 7(b), and 7(d), when Colleague 2 would not be available for cross-examination, had been substantially mitigated by the Registrant’s earlier decision to absent himself from the hearing.

162. In all the circumstances, the Panel was satisfied that admission of the balance of Colleague 2’s witness statement was necessary in order to protect members of the public; and further, the balance of fairness lay in admitting it into evidence. For these reasons, the Panel granted this part of Ms Bagott’s application.

Particular 7(a): In or around January-February 1999, you:

i) pushed her to the floor of the ambulance; – Proved

ii) jumped on top of her; – Proved

iii) simulated sex and/or ground your pelvis into hers; – Proved

163. The Panel had careful regard to the signed statement contained in the notes of Colleague 2’s interview with JW on 24 June 2018. In this, Colleague 2 stated, “I joined the ambulance service 11th January 1999 for Staffordshire (Ambulance Service) on PTS [Patient Transport Service]. Within the first few weeks of starting I met [the Registrant]. I parked up outside central outpatients. I was standing next to the ambulance with the side door open. [The Registrant] was chatting with colleagues. He came over to me pushed me into the ambulance onto the floor via the side door. [The Registrant] then jumped on top of me and started to grind me, simulating sex and at no time did he speak to me. I felt very shocked. He got off after approximately 10 seconds and returned to his work colleagues.”

164. The Panel gave careful consideration to Colleague 2’s written statement for the HCPC. In this, she confirmed that the account referred to above was accurate and stated, “I was absolutely gobsmacked when he did this to me in the ambulance. I was absolutely just shocked and horrified ... The incident lasted seconds and then [the Registrant] just got up and walked back off to his colleagues like nothing had happened. I picked myself up and felt humiliated ... I do not know who these colleagues were, I just know that they were males. I never spoke to them about the incident after it happened as it was a different world then; people did not speak about things, and as a woman I felt that I just had to accept it.”

165. The Panel noted that in the signed notes of his 11 July 2018 interview with JW, the Registrant is recorded as having been asked by JW if he recalled, in relation to Colleague 2, an incident which had occurred 19 years previously outside central outpatients, where he had pushed her to the floor of the ambulance, then simulated sex against her. The Registrant is recorded as having replied, “Absolutely not, no way I would never do that. Back then the vehicles had clear glass, it was in a public area, the vehicles at that time had 9 seats in them. It would not have been possible. Colleague 2 was a stocky strong lady and it would not have been easy to push her to the floor.”

166. The Panel was very aware of the considerable passage of time since the alleged incident, and gave careful consideration to the fact that the incident had not been reported at the time and to the corrosive effect of time on memory. It considered that these were important additional factors to bear in mind when considering what, if any, weight to give to Colleague 2’s account when she was not present to answer questions. The Panel considered particular 7(a) within the context of the evidence it had received in relation to the Registrant’s attitude and conduct towards female colleagues, and to its findings, set out above, in relation to other particulars. The Panel considered that the nature of the alleged incident was such that Colleague 2 was likely to have a reasonable recollection of what occurred, notwithstanding the corrosive effect of the passage of time on her ability to recall precise details. The Panel also considered that Colleague 2 had provided a good and cogent explanation as to why she had not reported the matter at the time.

167. In all the circumstances, the Panel determined that it was fair and appropriate to afford substantial weight to Colleague 2’s account of this matter. On the basis of the evidence before it, the Panel was satisfied that it was more likely than not that in or around January-February 1999, the Registrant had: i) pushed Colleague 2 to the floor of an ambulance; ii) jumped on top of her; and iii) simulated sex and/or ground his pelvis into hers.

Particular 7(b): On an unknown date in 2000, you unzipped Colleague 2’s jumpsuit to the waist – Proved

168. The Panel had careful regard to the signed statement contained in the notes of Colleague 2’s interview with JW on 24 June 2018. In this, Colleague 2 stated, “In 2000 I did my technician course and done my first shift on high dependency. At this time the uniform was the all in one jump suit. [The Registrant] was already working on high dependency and this shift we were crewed together. First thing before the shift started we were standing in the kitchen. I was getting a drink when [the Registrant] unzipped my jump suit all the way down to my waist. I was only wearing a bra underneath and it left me fully exposed. [The Registrant] stood there staring at my breasts. He didn’t speak but made a suggestive groan. I froze at this point. I zipped my suit back up. As it was my first day on HDU I didn’t know any staff and did not feel I could approach strangers. I was frightened of [the Registrant] at this time. This behaviour was unwanted by myself and I did nothing to encourage [the Registrant]. At the time of this incident on HDU, HR approached me and asked me to write this down and make it formal ... I was too scared to make it formal and declined.”

169. The Panel gave careful consideration to Colleague 2’s written statement for the HCPC. In this, she stated that “an outline of what [the Registrant] did” was contained in her statement in the notes of interview referred to above. She further stated: “There was no one else in the kitchen at the time and I recall that we were standing by the drinks vending machine. I was just getting a drink and [the Registrant] turned around and got hold of the zip on the front of my jumpsuit, pulled it down and exposed me. [The Registrant] just stood there gawping at my exposed chest. [The Registrant’s] actions made me freeze and feel shock and horror. I did not know whether to scream. I remember feeling paralysed and as soon as it had registered what had happened I zipped up my squad suit ... I do not think [the Registrant] said anything before he did it.’

170. The Panel had careful regard to the reasons given by Colleague 2 for not making a formal complaint at the time. She stated: “I did not tell the HR department about this incident directly but I told some colleagues shortly afterwards who must have informed the HR department ... I would not make a statement at the time ... people did not speak up about things and as a woman, I felt I just had to accept it. I also did not feel that anything would happen to [the Registrant] and that I would then have to continue to work with him after raising these concerns. All I wanted to do was be a paramedic and I did not want to be ‘blacklisted’. I was concerned that as it was a male-orientated Ambulance Service at the time, it would rock the boat if I made a statement. I felt intimated and did not dare have a go at him.”

171. The Panel noted that in the signed notes of his 11 July 2018 interview with JW, the Registrant is recorded as having been asked by JW if in 2000 he had unzipped Colleague 2’s jumpsuit and exposed her bra. The Registrant is recorded as having replied, “No I did not. It would not be possible as there was Velcro over the zip preventing this. She would often have it unzipped lower than was appropriate.”

172. The Panel had well in mind the considerable passage of time since the alleged incident, and gave careful consideration to the fact that Colleague 2 had not made a formal complaint at the time, and to the corrosive effect of time on memory. It considered that these were important additional factors to bear in mind when considering what, if any, weight to give to Colleague 2’s account of this incident when she was not present to answer questions. The Panel considered particular 7(b) within the context of the evidence it had received in relation to the Registrant’s attitude and conduct towards female colleagues, and to its findings, set out above, in relation to other particulars. The Panel considered that the nature of the alleged incident was such that Colleague 2 was likely to have a reasonable recollection of what occurred, notwithstanding the corrosive effect of the passage of time on her ability to recall precise details. The Panel also considered that Colleague 2 had provided a clear and cogent explanation as to why she had not made a formal complaint at the time.

173. In all the circumstances, the Panel determined that it was fair and appropriate to afford substantial weight to Colleague 2’s account of this matter. On the basis of the evidence before it, the Panel was satisfied that it was more likely than not that on an unknown date in 2000, the Registrant had unzipped Colleague 2’s jumpsuit to the waist.

Particular 7(c): On an unknown date in 2000, you:

i) put your face close to the face of a patient; – Not Proved

ii) made one or more comments to the patient about her looking good for her age and/or that she was beautiful; – Not Proved

174. By reason of its decision not to admit into evidence paragraphs 13-16 of Colleague 2’s witness statement to the HCPC, the Panel had no evidence before it in support of this particular. For this reason, the Panel found Particular 7(c)(i) and 7(c)(ii) not proved.

Particular 7(d) - On an unknown date between January and June 2018, you reminded Colleague 2 that you had unzipped her jumpsuit in 2000 – Proved

175. The Panel had careful regard to the signed statement contained in the notes of Colleague 2’s interview with JW on 24 June 2018. In this, Colleague 2 stated: “I have had no other dealings with [the Registrant] until a couple of months ago when [the Registrant] was finishing nights and I was starting the day shift. He reminded me of the time he unzipped my jumpsuit and appeared to be re-living it and getting off on it. This has made me feel angry, bitter and humiliated. The start of my career it made me feel scared. I just wanted to forget about it at the time. I was concerned for my career. When I found out this had been happening again I was angry and bitter. I felt he targeted me back then as I was a new member of staff who was a single mum. When he made the comment a few months ago it brought it all back to me. I regret not reporting this all those years ago as he has carried on behaving like this.”

176. The Panel gave careful consideration to Colleague 2’s written statement for the HCPC. In this, she referred to a 2018 incident involving the Registrant, and stated: “I was starting my shift and taking over from [the Registrant]. I was waiting for him to move when he reminded me of the previous incident in the kitchen when he had unzipped my jumpsuit. I cannot recall exactly what he said but he mentioned the incident and made an ‘mmmmm’ sound. It appeared to me like he was re-living it and thinking ‘that was nice’. [The Registrant] was grinning as he made this sound and had what, in my view, appeared to be a pleasurable look on his face. I said something like ‘you shouldn’t have done that’ and [the Registrant] said ‘I didn’t know you wouldn’t have a bra on’ or words to that effect. This made me feel cheap, angry and disgusted at him. This comment was also not correct; I actually did have a bra on at the time of the incident, but it was a half cup style bra so the style would make it not visible until I would pull the squad suit towards my shoulders in order to take it off. It did not register with me at the time that this was what he thought, that I did not have one on.”

177. In her written statement for the HCPC, Colleague 2 also stated, “I used to see [the Registrant] behave differently around girls in the control room. There were particular ones that he would pick out ... They were typically the younger ones and more vulnerable ones ... I noticed that [the Registrant] would make a point of going over to them a lot and being in their space. In my view, it was creepy and predatory behaviour.” The Panel noted that Colleague 2’s observations in this regard had much in common with the observations of other witnesses who appeared before it to give evidence in this case.

178. The Panel considered particular 7(d) within the context of the evidence it had received in relation to the Registrant’s attitude and conduct towards female colleagues, and to its findings, set out above, in relation to other particulars. In all the circumstances, the Panel determined that it was fair and appropriate to afford substantial weight to Colleague 2’s account of this matter. On the basis of the evidence before it, the Panel was satisfied that it was more likely than not that on an unknown date between January and June 2018, the Registrant reminded Colleague 2 that he had unzipped her jumpsuit in 2000.

Particular 8 – Proved (with the exception of particular 7(c))

8. Your actions as described at paragraphs 1-7 above were:

a) Inappropriate; and/or

b) sexually motivated in that they were done:

i. in pursuit of sexual gratification and/or

ii. in pursuit of a future sexual relationship.

179. In respect of this Particular, the Panel considered each of the matters found proved individually and in context. It had careful regard to all the evidence put before it and to the submissions of Ms Bagott, and the advice of the Legal Assessor in relation to the guidance provided in the cases of Basson v GMC, R v Karl Anthony H, and Arunkalaivanan v GMC.

180. The Panel had no doubt that the Registrant’s actions in respect of each of the matters found proved had been inappropriate. Some, such as exposing himself to Colleague 4, were of themselves inappropriate by their very nature; others, such as commenting that Colleague 1 was pretty, were rendered inappropriate by reason of the context in which they had occurred and what the Panel concluded had been the Registrant’s purpose in acting as he did.

181. In the Panel’s view, the matters found proved were illustrative of a cynical and calculating pattern of sexual harassment conducted over a period of years against often young and vulnerable female colleagues in the workplace. It was clear to the Panel that the Registrant had indulged in what can only be described as predatory behaviour. This was conducted without any apparent concern for the distress, humiliation, fear, and trauma he inflicted on his victims.

182. The Panel had no doubt that the Registrant’s conduct in respect of each of the matters found proved had been sexually motivated. With the benefit of the insight and reflection provided by some of his victims in their evidence, the Panel concluded that while there was an exploratory element to the Registrant’s actions which was clearly motivated by the pursuit of future sexual relationships, the actions themselves, and on occasion their impact on his victims, were also a clear source of sexual gratification to him.

Resumed Hearing 5-7 May 2020

Service

183. The Panel heard that on 11 March 2020, Notice in respect of this reconvened hearing was sent by first class post and email to the Registrant’s registered postal address and email address in accordance with Rules 3 and 6 of the Rules. In addition, on 20 April 2020, Notice was sent by email to the Registrant at his registered email address informing him that the reconvened hearing would take place virtually by video conferencing. A further email was sent to him on 24 April 2020 providing guidance for attendance at the virtual reconvened hearing. In addition, a further email was sent to the Registrant at his registered email address on 27 April 2020. This was entitled “Amended Notice of Conduct and Competence Committee Hearing”. This stated that the reconvened hearing would be conducted remotely and provided the Registrant with information as to the Panel’s powers, including its power to proceed in the absence of the Registrant or to postpone the hearing.

184. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and determined that Notice had been served in accordance with the Rules.
 
Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant

185. Ms Sheridan stated that she wished to renew the application to proceed in the absence of the Registrant, which the Panel had previously granted in respect of that part of the hearing held in February 2020.

186. Ms Sheridan informed the Panel that no response by or on behalf of the Registrant had been received to any communication from the HCPTS since the cessation of the hearing on 18 February 2020. She reminded the Panel that the only response to the Amended Notice of the February part of the hearing had come by way of the email dated 4 February 2020 from the Registrant’s representative, which indicated the Registrant would not be attending the February part of the hearing.

187. Ms Sheridan submitted that the Panel should proceed with the resumed hearing if it was satisfied that Notice of the resumed hearing had been served in accordance with the Rules and that it was fair to do so. She noted that the Panel had found that there had been good service in respect of the Notice of resumed hearing. As a consequence, it could be satisfied that the Registrant is, or should be, aware of the resumed hearing. She submitted that the absence of any new communication from the Registrant was a clear indication of his continuing determination not to engage with the process. In the absence of engagement or any request to postpone or adjourn the hearing, Ms Sheridan submitted that the Panel could have no confidence that the Registrant would attend on another occasion.

188. Ms Sheridan reminded the Panel of the general public interest in hearings taking place in reasonable time. She submitted that, in accordance with the guidance set out in Adeogba v GMC, registrants should not be permitted to frustrate the process by deliberately failing to engage with it. She invited the Panel to consider the nature and circumstances of the Registrant’s absence in the context of his previous absence. She submitted that, in all the circumstances, the Panel should conclude that the Registrant had voluntarily absented himself from the resumed hearing and had waived the right to be present.

189. Ms Sheridan submitted that, for the reasons set out above, the Panel should proceed with the resumed hearing in the absence of the Registrant.

190. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, who reminded it of the guidance provided in the cases of R v Jones and Adeogba v GMC.

191. The Panel recognised that the discretion to proceed in the absence of a registrant is one which must be exercised with the utmost care and caution and that its decision should be guided by the HCPC’s statutory objective to protect the public.

192. In reaching its decision, the Panel had regard to the nature and circumstances of the Registrant’s behaviour in absenting himself. In the absence of any further communication from or on behalf of the Registrant since the email of his representative on 4 February 2020, the Panel concluded that the Registrant had voluntarily absented himself and so waived his right to be present.

193. The Panel recognised that it would run counter to the statutory objective to protect the public if a practitioner could effectively frustrate the process by deliberately failing to engage with it. The Panel further considered that it had no reason to believe that, if it were to adjourn the hearing, the Registrant would attend on a subsequent occasion.

194. In reaching its decision on Ms Sheridan’s application, the Panel balanced the public interest in the timely disposal of the Allegation with any disadvantage to the Registrant should the hearing proceed in his absence. For the reasons set out above, the Panel concluded that it would be fair and in the interests of justice to proceed in the absence of the Registrant, and decided to do so.

Decision on Grounds

195. Ms Sheridan reminded the Panel of the definition of misconduct provided by Lord Clyde in Roylance v General Medical Council [2001] 1 AC 311. She submitted that in respect of particulars 1, 2(b), 3, 4, 5, and 7(d), the Registrant had breached Standards 2 and 9 of the HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (2016), and in respect of particulars 2(a), 4, 5, and 6 he had breached Standards 3, 7 and 13 of the HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (2012). In respect of particulars 7(a), (b) and (d), the Panel should refer to the general standards the public would expect of a healthcare professional.

196. She submitted that, taken together or individually, the behaviour found proved amounted to misconduct in that it constituted a serious falling short of what would be proper in the circumstances. In particular, she highlighted the following aggravating features:

• The Registrant’s conduct was deliberate and premeditated, as evidenced by a clear pattern of behaviour. He would often take advantage of colleagues being alone in the staff kitchen or in the midst of answering an emergency call to touch them or make inappropriate comments. Colleague 1’s evidence was that the Registrant “always made it look like he was asking me a question or helping me out on a job … he would crouch down so he couldn’t be seen by the assistant supervisors. She described him as “…always very confident in what he was doing. There was no sort of shyness to him. It was like he knew that he had this control and he would just take it.” Colleague 3 gave a similar account, describing the Registrant rubbing her back whilst she sought his input on how best to respond to an emergency call. Colleague 5 made a similar observation that she would be on the phone when the Registrant would kneel down and put his hand on her leg.

• The predatory nature of the conduct was a clear abuse of the Registrant’s senior position at WMAS. JF’s evidence was that the Registrant would make a beeline for junior female employees who might be considered naïve. She stated: “He’d maybe try it on with the older members of staff but generally, he was rebuffed by them but you know, the younger, more vulnerable ones he would go for, so I would say target really.” In her witness statement, she clarified: “…if a young staff member had a problem on call and required [the Registrant’s] medical advice or if they were vulnerable in some way, [the Registrant] would try to integrate himself with them. It was really noticeable.” The perception of the Registrant ‘targeting’ junior and/or vulnerable members of the team was corroborated in Colleague 2’s witness statement, where she commented: “I used to see [the Registrant] behave differently around girls in the control room. There were particular ones that he would pick out…they were typically the younger ones and more vulnerable ones…I noticed that [the Registrant] would make a point of going over to them a lot and being in their space. In my view, it was creepy and predatory behaviour…”

• The conduct was repeated in respect of seven female colleagues over a number of years. On any view, this was a continuing course of conduct as opposed to an isolated incident. The Panel had described this at paragraph 185 of this determination as a “cynical and calculating pattern of sexual harassment conducted over a period of years…”

• The Registrant’s actions had a severe and long-lasting impact on the majority of the witnesses. Colleague 1 and Colleague 4’s evidence was particularly distressing. A common feature of the evidence from all the witnesses was that they felt the Registrant’s actions were inappropriate and humiliating.

197. Ms Sheridan submitted that particulars 1(a), (b), (h), 3(b), (d), (e), (f), 4(a), 6, and 7(a)-(b) were particularly troubling and were tantamount to sexual assault. The conduct in particulars 1(f), (g), 3(a), (c), (g), (h) and (i), 4(d), and 5(a) was completely inexcusable and intimidating, particularly as the behaviour took place in the workplace.

198. Ms Sheridan submitted that members of the profession would describe the Registrant’s behaviour as deplorable, predatory, and a clear breach of the trust placed in him by his employer and his Regulator. The Registrant’s conduct fell well below the standards of a registered paramedic and was sufficiently serious to constitute misconduct.

199. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, who advised the Panel that in considering the issue of misconduct it should ask whether, in its professional judgement, the Registrant’s behaviour, as found proved, had fallen seriously below the standards required of a paramedic in the circumstances, and whether it would be regarded as deplorable by fellow practitioners. She took the Panel to the cases of Roylance and Nandi v GMC [2004] EWHC 2317.

200. In reaching its decision the Panel concluded that in respect of particulars 2(a), 4, 5, and 6, the following HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (2012) had been breached:

• Standard 3: You must keep high standards of personal conduct;

• Standard 7: You must communicate properly and effectively with service users and other practitioners;

• Standard 13: You must behave with honesty and integrity and make sure that your behavior does not damage the public’s confidence in you and your profession.

201. The Panel concluded that in respect of particulars 1, 2(b), 3, 4, 5, and 7(d), the following HCPC Standard of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (2016) had been breached:

• Standard 9.1: You must make sure that your conduct justifies the public’s trust and confidence in you and your profession.

202. The Panel had no hesitation in concluding that the Registrant’s sexually motivated behaviour in relation to particulars 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 amounted to misconduct, both individually and cumulatively. The Panel had already concluded in its finding of facts that the Registrant’s deliberate conduct had amounted to a cynical and calculating pattern of sexual harassment, conducted over a period of years against young and/or vulnerable female colleagues in the workplace. The Panel had no difficulty in concluding that fellow paramedics would regard the Registrant’s conduct as deplorable. The Panel accepted the submissions on misconduct advocated by Ms Sheridan on behalf of the HCPC. The Registrant’s behaviour had fallen very far below the standards of a registered Paramedic. The Panel concluded that the Registrant’s behaviour had been predatory and amounted to a clear breach of the trust that had been placed in him by his colleagues. In reaching its conclusion, the Panel reminded itself that the Registrant’s actions had had a significant and lasting impact on a number of the witnesses, as set out earlier in this determination.

Decision on Impairment

203. At this stage of the proceedings, Ms Sheridan applied to admit into evidence two additional documents which, she submitted, were of relevance to the issue of impairment. She informed the Panel that the Registrant and his representative had been put on notice that an application would be made to adduce this documentation at the grounds and impairment stage if one or more of the factual particulars was found proved. She submitted that there was no unfairness to the Registrant. No response had been provided.

204. The Legal Assessor advised that it would be appropriate to admit this material into evidence if the Panel was satisfied that it was of relevance to the issue of impairment, and that its relevance outweighed any potential unfairness to the Registrant.

205. The Panel decided to admit this material on the basis that it was clearly of relevance, in that it evidenced past behaviour that was similar in nature to the matters found proved, and, further, it evidenced that the Registrant had in the past assured a Conduct and Competence panel of the then-Health Professions Council (HPC) that he had understood his sexual remarks addressed to a colleague whilst at work had amounted to inappropriate behaviour on his part, and that he would not repeat his conduct. The Panel concluded that its inclusion would not cause unfairness to the Registrant.

Document 1

206. The first additional document comprised a full, unedited copy of the record of Investigatory Interview that had taken place with the Registrant on 11 July 2018.

207. In addition to the questions posed and answers provided about the allegations forming the subject matter of this hearing, the Panel now learned that the Registrant was asked whether he had been the subject of a previous HCPC hearing relating to a previous allegation of inappropriate sexual behaviour. His response was: “yes I have, about 10 years ago. The allegation was a patient’s carer, who claims I have made inappropriate comments to her. This went to a HCPC Hearing but lacked evidence and there was no case to answer”. He was asked to confirm that at the hearing he had stated that with the benefit of hindsight his conduct had been inappropriate and that he had understood that it would cause distress and upset. He replied “yes I have learnt not to let people/carers come between me and the patient. She was trying to take over”.

Document 2

208. The second document was the Notice of Decision and Order of a panel of the HPC dated 12 May 2008. This related to the hearing referred to by the Registrant in Document 1, in which it had been alleged that, whilst employed by Staffordshire Ambulance Service, on 25 June 2006 the Registrant had acted in an unprofessional manner towards another healthcare worker, in that he:

• made inappropriate comments, some of which were sexual in nature; and

• followed the healthcare worker home and waited near her house.

209. The details of the allegation were that the healthcare worker had attended the home of a service user after the Registrant’s arrival at the address in response to a 999 call. The service user was terminally ill and had very bad breathing problems. After general conversation about the service user, the Registrant grabbed the healthcare worker’s hands, saying that he could “snog her face off”.  At the hearing, the Registrant accepted that he had said this, but claimed that it had been directed at the service user, as a term of endearment. He accepted that his remarks had been inappropriate but denied any sexual connotation. However, it was found proved that the remark had been of a sexual nature.

210. In that hearing the Registrant accepted that after leaving the service user’s address he followed the healthcare professional and parked near her home address. He claimed that he had done this because he was worried that he might have upset her and wanted to chat. He claimed that he did not intend to cause distress but accepted that he may in fact have caused distress. That particular was also found proved.

211. The Registrant’s behaviour was found to amount to misconduct on the basis that it had been inappropriate and reckless.

212. The Registrant accepted before that panel that, with the benefit of hindsight, his behaviour had been inappropriate. He claimed that he understood why it would have caused distress and upset. He said that he would not repeat his conduct. This was accepted by that panel and, in consequence, no finding of impairment was made.

Submissions

213. Ms Sheridan submitted that the Registrant had not engaged in these proceedings. She submitted that save for the denials he provided during his interview in the course of the internal investigation, he had not made any further response to the allegations. She submitted that there was no evidence to demonstrate that the Registrant acknowledged any wrongdoing, that he had any insight, or that he had taken any steps to remediate his behaviour. Ms Sheridan submitted that his clear lack of insight was demonstrated by JW’s observation that during the interview on 11 July 2018, the Registrant’s demeanour was one of disbelief: “…he could not believe the allegations were being made. He did not offer a rationale as to why people would make these allegations against him. In my view, he appeared to be in disbelief.” Ms Sheridan submitted that it was equally concerning that the Registrant took that opportunity to try and attribute blame to one of his accusers, describing Colleague 4 as “nasty, crude” and “very flirtatious”.

214. Ms Sheridan submitted that the previous finding of misconduct in 2008 demonstrated repetition of similar conduct and, perhaps more concerning, the current allegations demonstrated an escalation in inappropriate sexually motivated conduct. Ms Sheridan submitted that there was a very real risk of repetition of similar behaviour in the future were the Registrant to be permitted to practise unrestricted.

215. Ms Sheridan reminded the Panel of Mrs Justice Cox’ comments in Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence v (1) Nursing and Midwifery Council (2) Paula Grant [2011] EWHC 927 that:

“In determining whether a practitioner’s fitness to practise is impaired by reason of misconduct, the relevant panel should generally consider not only whether the practitioner continues to present a risk to members of the public in his or her current role, but also whether the need to uphold proper professional standards and public confidence in the profession would be undermined if a finding of impairment were not made in the particular circumstances.”

216. Ms Sheridan submitted that Dame Janet Smith in the Fifth Shipman Inquiry identified that impairment would arise where a practitioner: (i) presented a risk to service users; (ii) brought the profession into disrepute; (iii) has breached one of the fundamental tenets of the profession; or (iv) has acted in such a way that their integrity can no longer be relied upon. Ms Sheridan submitted that the last three of these components were engaged in the present case.

217. Ms Sheridan submitted that on the basis of the personal component, namely the complete lack of recognition, remorse, and risk of repetition, coupled with the public component, namely the need to uphold proper professional standards and public confidence in the profession and the regulator, public confidence would be undermined if a finding of impairment were not made.

Legal Advice

218. The Legal Assessor reminded the Panel of the criteria in the cases of CHRE v (1) NMC and (2) Grant and Cohen v General Medical Council [2008] EWHC 581, in which it was said that a panel should ask whether the Registrant’s conduct is easily remediable, whether it has been remedied, and whether it is highly unlikely to be repeated. She advised that, in so doing, the Panel should examine whether or not the Registrant has provided evidence of insight into his past behaviour.

219. The Legal Assessor also advised the Panel to consider the critical public interest issues set out in CHRE v (1) NMC and (2) Grant and the case of Yeong –v- GMC [2009] EWHC 1923. She advised the Panel to ask whether proper professional standards and public confidence in the profession would be undermined if a finding of impairment were not made in the particular circumstances.

220. The Legal Assessor also urged the Panel to consider the Practice Note provided by the HCPTS entitled “Finding that Fitness to Practise is ‘Impaired’”.

Decision

221. The Panel took into account the submissions made by Ms Sheridan. It accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

222. The Panel concluded that the Registrant’s behaviour was extremely serious, for the reasons set out in this determination at the misconduct stage.

223. The Registrant had provided no evidence of remediation, insight, or remorse, despite having been given ample opportunity in which to do so, for example, in the investigation interview or during these proceedings. The Panel concluded, on the basis of the matters found proved, that the risk that the Registrant will repeat his misconduct is very high, given the pattern of similar behaviour over an extended period of time in relation to such a substantial number of colleagues.

224. The Panel’s view that the Registrant would likely repeat his behaviour was compounded by the additional material that had been introduced at this stage of the proceedings regarding the finding of misconduct made in 2008 by a panel of the HPC. These were sexual remarks made to a healthcare worker in the course of the Registrant’s work as a paramedic. Furthermore, whilst the Registrant had sought to reassure that panel that he understood the importance of his actions in relation to his remarks, when asked about the matter in the investigation interview of 11 July 2018, he merely replied “yes I have learnt not to let people/carers come between me and the patient. She was trying to take over”. The Panel concluded this remark demonstrated a complete lack of insight on the Registrant’s part.

225. For all these reasons, the Panel concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is clearly impaired under the personal component.

226. The Panel further concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired under the public component. The seriousness of the Registrant’s sexually motivated misconduct led to a clear need to declare and uphold proper standards of behaviour, and to maintain confidence in the profession, and its regulator, by making a finding of impairment in this case. The Registrant’s misconduct related to sexually motivated behaviour in relation to seven separate colleagues and spanned an extensive period of time. In the circumstances the Panel concluded that public confidence and trust in the profession, together with the upholding of standards, would be gravely diminished if no finding of impairment were to be made in the circumstances.

227. Accordingly, the Panel found the Registrant’s fitness to practise to be currently impaired.

Decision on Sanction

228. Ms Sheridan referred the Panel to the HCPC Sanctions Policy and to the case of Arunachalam v General Medical Council [2018] EWHC 758. She submitted that in accordance with this guidance, sexual misconduct should be regarded as a very serious matter. She submitted that in this case the Registrant’s sexual misconduct was aggravated by his lack of insight, remediation, and remorse. She reminded the Panel of its finding that there was a high risk that the Registrant would repeat his behaviour. She submitted that the Panel should have regard to the wider public interest when reaching its decision.

229. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor, who advised the Panel to consider the range of available sanctions in ascending order of seriousness, starting with the option of taking no action. She reminded the Panel to act proportionately, balancing the interests of the Registrant against the public interest and to impose no greater restriction on the Registrant’s ability to practise his profession than is necessary in the circumstances of this case. She advised the Panel to consult the HCPC Sanctions Policy, and in particular paragraphs 76 and 77 which deal with sexual misconduct, together with the case of Arunachalam v General Medical Council. She reminded the Panel that the purpose of sanction is not to be punitive, but is to protect the public, maintain public confidence in the profession, and declare and uphold proper standards of conduct and behaviour.

230. The Panel concluded that there were no mitigating factors available to take into account on behalf of the Registrant.

231. The Panel concluded that the Registrant’s misconduct was aggravated by the following features:

• The Registrant’s conduct had been deliberate and premeditated, as evidenced by a clear pattern of behaviour;

• The conduct had been repeated in respect of many colleagues over a significant number of years;

• The conduct had targeted vulnerable female work colleagues in the workplace and was predatory in nature;

• The Registrant’s actions had had a severe and long lasting impact on the majority of the witnesses;

• The conduct amounted to an abuse of the Registrant’s senior position at the WMAS;

• the Registrant had demonstrated no engagement, remediation, remorse, or insight into his sexually motivated behaviour;

• the misconduct amounted to an escalation of the Registrant’s behaviour, in that it had taken place after a previous finding of misconduct had been made by a panel of the Conduct and Competence Committee of the HPC in 2008, regarding inappropriate sexual comments made by the Registrant to a healthcare worker circa 2006.

232. The Panel concluded that in view of the extreme seriousness of the misconduct, to take no further action or to impose a Caution Order would be totally insufficient to protect the public or the wider public interest.

233. The Panel also concluded that a Conditions of Practice Order would be entirely insufficient to protect the public or the wider public interest in the light of the gravity of the misconduct. Further, such an order would be unworkable due to the Registrant’s lack of engagement with the regulatory process, and the absence of any indication on his part that he would be willing to abide by any conditions that the Panel may see fit to impose.

234. The Panel considered a Suspension Order. The Panel noted that none of the indicators set out in the HCPC Sanctions Policy regarding the suitability of a Suspension Order were present in this instance. The Panel concluded that the Registrant’s misconduct was at the high end of the scale of seriousness. It had been conducted in breach of the trust that had been placed in him by fellow colleagues employed by WMAS. The Registrant had demonstrated no evidence of remediation, insight, or remorse. It was the judgement of the Panel that there was a very real risk of repetition of similar behaviour. The Panel concluded that a Suspension Order would be insufficient to protect the public. The Panel also concluded that such an order would be insufficient to uphold standards of behaviour and maintain confidence in the profession and its regulator due to the seriousness of this case, as set out in this determination.

235. The Panel was clear that a Striking Off Order was the only sufficient, appropriate, and proportionate sanction in the extreme circumstances of this case. The Registrant’s conduct had been deliberate and premeditated, as evidenced by a clear pattern of behaviour. The predatory nature of his conduct had been an abuse of the Registrant’s senior position at WMAS. The Panel had found his conduct had been repeated in respect of seven female colleagues over a number of years. His actions had had a severe and long-lasting impact on many of the witnesses. It was evident to the Panel that the Registrant had targeted vulnerable female colleagues in order to perpetrate his sexual misconduct. The Registrant had continued to deny his sexually motivated behaviour and had provided no evidence of remediation, insight, or remorse. It was the judgment of the Panel that he remains a high risk to the public, and that only a Striking Off Order is sufficient to protect the public from him. Further, a Striking Off Order is clearly required to declare and uphold proper standards of behaviour and to maintain confidence in the profession and its regulator; it is the judgment of the Panel that a reasonable, well informed member of the public would be horrified to hear of the egregious conduct identified in this case.

Order

That the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Mr Alan D Campbell from the Register on the date this Order comes into effect.

Notes

Interim Order

1. Following the announcement of the sanction and the Registrant’s right of appeal, Ms Sheridan applied for an Interim Suspension Order on the grounds of it being necessary to protect the public and being in the public interest. Such an order would cover any appeal period.

Proceeding in absence

2. Having taken the advice of the Legal Assessor, the Panel considered Ms Sheridan’s application to proceed at this stage in the Registrant’s absence. It was satisfied that it was appropriate to consider the HCPC’s application for an interim order in the absence of the Registrant because he had been informed in the Notice of Hearing that such an application might be made. The Panel decided that the Registrant had absented himself and concluded that it would be in the public interest to proceed in light of its findings as to current impairment.

Decision

3. The Legal Assessor advised the Panel that it may impose an Interim Order when it is necessary to protect the public, or is otherwise in the public interest, or is in the interests of the Registrant himself. The Panel should act proportionately in reaching its decision.

4. The Panel was satisfied that the risk that the Registrant will repeat his misconduct is significant. The Panel concluded that it is necessary to direct that the Registrant’s registration be suspended on an interim basis for protection of the public, including colleagues. The Panel was also satisfied that such an order is in the wider public interest, as a fully informed member of the public would be shocked to hear that the Registrant had been permitted to continue in practise over any appeal period.

5. The Panel concluded that the appropriate length of the Interim Suspension Order should be 18 months, to cover the resolution of any appeal made by the Registrant.

6. The Panel therefore makes an Interim Suspension Order under Article 31(2) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001, the same being necessary to protect members of the public and being otherwise in the public interest. This order will expire (a) if no appeal is made against the Panel’s decision or Order, upon the expiry of the period during which such an appeal could be made, or (b) if an appeal is made against the Panel’s decision and Order, the final determination of that appeal, subject to a maximum period of 18 months.

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr Alan D Campbell

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
05/05/2020 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Struck off