Dr Waseem Alladin

Profession: Practitioner psychologist

Registration Number: PYL01687

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 18/11/2019 End: 17:00 06/11/2020

Location: HCPTS Tribunal Centre, 405 Kennington Road London SE11 4PT on 18 – 22 November 2019, 25 - 28 November 2019, and conducted as a virtual hearing from 09 September 2020 onwards

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Struck off

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Allegation

Whilst registered as a Practitioner Psychologist and employed by [redacted] University:


1) Between September 2015 and November 2016, you behaved inappropriately towards Student 1 as set out within Schedule A.


2) On an unknown date(s) in 2016, when you were not Student 1’s treating physician, you:


(a) Advised Student 1 to stop taking her prescribed medication;


(b) Encouraged Student 1 to undergo hypnosis to counteract withdrawal effects from not taking her prescribed medication.


3) On 25 May 2016, you behaved inappropriately towards Student 3 in that you:


A) massaged her head;


B) placed your arms either side of the chair being used by Student 3, bent down to student 3’s level and stared at Student 3;


C) recorded a hypnosis session with Student 3 on your phone;


D) stated to Student 3 that you ‘would have liked to video record the hypnosis session because under hypnosis, your inner beauty comes out’ or words to that effect;


E) stated to Student 3 that ‘you glow and smile’ or words to that effect.


4) Between September 2015 and November 2016, you behaved inappropriately in that you:


A) requested that Student 2 and/or Student 4 provide you with photos of themselves, from their private email address to your private email address;


B) slammed your fist against a desk while delivering a lecture;


C) Stated to your student(s) that ‘some of you think it’s ok to make below the belt comments about me to my superiors, but you can rest assured that if you report me, I will come down on you harder than you ever can on me’, or words to that effect;


D) On an unknown date, you asked Student 1 for a headshot photograph of herself which you displayed in the Centre for Work Stress Management;


E) On an unknown date, you stated to Student 1 in relation to a headshot photograph of herself: ‘it is a perfect photograph because I can see your soul reflected in your eyes in it’, or words to that effect;


F) On an unknown date(s), you stated to Student 1 ‘not to trust or speak to Student 2’, or words to that effect;


G) On an unknown date(s), you stated to Student 2 ‘not to trust or speak to Student 1’, or words to that effect.


5) You breached professional boundaries in that:


A) On 25 May 2016, you stated to Student 3 ‘what would you do if I kidnapped you?’ or words to that effect;


B) On an unknown date, you stated that Student 1 and/or Student 2:


i. was your ‘soulmate’ or words to that effect;


ii. was an ‘earth mother’, or words to that effect;


C) On an unknown date, you gave Student 1 two books as a gift;


D) On an unknown date, you stated to your student(s) that ‘you have previously felt [redacted] when your ex – fiancée left you’, or words to that effect;


E) On an unknown date, you stated to your student(s) that ‘you have previously been removed from a PhD course for being inappropriate with students’, or words to that effect;


F) On an unknown date, you stated to Student 1 that she was your ‘professional wife’ or words to that effect;


G) On an unknown date, you described student 1 and/or 2 and/or 4 as ‘beautiful’ during informal meetings after lectures;


H) On an unknown date, you stated that Student 1 was an ‘In house expert on bi polar’, or words to that effect.


6) Between March to April 2016, you attempted to hypnotise Student 2 without obtaining her formal consent.


7) On or around 25 May 2016, you performed hypnosis on Student 3 without obtaining her formal consent.


8) Between May to September 2016, you performed hypnosis on Student 1 without obtaining her formal consent.


9) You provided Person A with confidential/sensitive information about Student 1.


10) You did not direct Student 1 to the relevant services when you became aware that she was mentally and/or emotionally vulnerable.


11) Your actions at any or all of paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 10 were sexually motivated in that they were done in pursuit of sexual gratification and/or in pursuit of a future sexual relationship.


12) The matters set out in paragraphs 1 - 11 constitute misconduct.


13) By reason of your misconduct your fitness to practise is impaired.

 

Schedule A


On an unknown date(s), you:

 

1. Stroked Student 1’s face and/or head;

 

2. Massaged Student 1’s shoulders and/or neck;


3. Kissed Student 1 on the lips;


4. Stuck your tongue in Student 1’s mouth for approximately 30 seconds;


5. Asked Student 1 to ‘kiss you back’ or words to that effect;


6. Placed your finger(s) in student 1’s mouth and asked her to ‘suck it’, or words to that effect;


7. Kissed and/or sucked Student 1’s toes;


8. Felt Student 1’s breasts, over her clothes;


9. Placed your tongue in Student 1’s ears;


10. Took photographs of Student 1 before, during and after hypnosis therapy;


11. Requested to perform hypnosis on Student 1 in a hotel room;


12. Requested to be invited into Student 1’s hotel room;


13. Asked Student 1 to provide you with counselling for your [redacted], or words to that effect;


14. Asked Student 1 if she thought you were attractive, or words to that effect;


15. Stated to Student 1 that ‘‘if I were younger and more attractive, you would have slept with me by now’, or words to that effect;


16. Stated to Student 1 that ‘600 years is a long time to wait because I believe that you and I were lovers in a past life’ or words to that effect;


17. Stated that you would commit suicide if Student 1 would not sleep with you or words to that effect;


18. Told Student 1 ‘you need to step up and give me what I need because there are 5 other students who will take my attention’ or words to that effect;


19. Stated to Student 1 that you ‘had expected to sleep with her’, or words to that effect;


20. Stated to Student 1 that she ‘only ever kisses you back under hypnosis’ or words to that effect;


21. Stroked Student 1’s face with a rose after placing her under hypnosis;


22. Stated to Student 1: ‘what would you say if I told you I had booked a hotel room down the road?’, or words to that effect;


23. Stated to Student 1 that she would end up being gang raped by a group of young men if she went with them to a nightclub, or words to that effect;


24. Stated to Student 1: ‘[redacted] would not be a problem if I was dealing with a beautiful blonde like you’, or words to that effect;


25. Stated to Student 1 that she was irresistible to men because she had the serpent power, or words to that effect;


26. Stated to Student 1 that she was ‘not submitting completely’ to you, or words to that effect;


27. Stated to Student 1 that ‘you had been previously investigated by the police for [redacted] a client under hypnosis’, or words to that effect;


28. [redacted]; 


29. Revealed to Student 1 information relating to your sexual relationship with a previous partner;


30. Stated in a text message to Student 1 that she had: ‘cured your [redacted]’ or words to that effect.

Finding

Preliminary matters:

 

1. The Panel was convened to undertake the substantive hearing of the HCPC’s Allegation against the Registrant, Dr Waseem Alladin, a Practitioner Psychologist.

 

2. The factual particulars that had originally been referred by the Investigating Committee to the Conduct and Competence Committee were amended, as set out in a letter sent by the HCPC to the Registrant on 16 July 2019. It was accepted by both the HCPC and the Registrant at the commencement of the hearing that the factual particulars reproduced in the Case Summary at pages B1 to B5 were those that required the Panel’s decision. Those particulars are set out at the head of this document in plain text form.


3. In advance of the commencement of the substantive hearing, a differently constituted panel of this Committee had made directions concerning the manner in which HCPC witnesses might be permitted to give their evidence. It had been intended to ask that earlier panel also to deal with other preliminary applications made on behalf of the Registrant, namely the first two issues listed below. However, there was insufficient time for them to be dealt with. Accordingly, before the present hearing could commence, it was necessary for those, and any additional applications to be decided. Before the hearing commenced the Panel decided the following applications:


• In relation to Student 4 and the factual particulars relating to her.


• In relation to the evidence of Ms JP, a witness who undertook an investigation on behalf of the University by which the Registrant was employed and which the students referred to in the Allegation attended.


• Whether the hearing should be conducted in public or private.


4. The Panel had the benefit of a full written skeleton argument prepared by Ms Mauladad. She supplemented her written submissions and the Presenting Officer, Mr Olphert, responded to them. As the applications have already been decided, the Panel considers that it is sufficient at the present time for the grounds of the applications to be summarised. The Panel’s reasons for the decisions made in relation to these applications will also be stated.

 

The application in relation to Student 4.


5. Two of the factual particulars advanced by the HCPC against the Registrant contain references to Student 4. They are:


• Particular 4(A) – Between September 2015 and November 2016, you behaved inappropriately in that you requested that Student 2 and/or Student 4 provide you with photos of themselves, from their private email address to your private email address”; and,


• Particular 5(G) – You breached professional boundaries in that on an unknown date you described Student 1 and/or 2 and/or 4 as “beautiful” in informal meetings after lectures”.


6. The HCPC did not propose to call Student 4 as a witness, and indeed no witness statement had been taken from her for the purposes of the present proceedings. What the HCPC did seek to put before the Panel was a document that described itself as a witness statement. The document was a record of an interview of Student 4 undertaken by Ms JP on 8 December 2016. The statement was signed and confirmed to be an accurate and fair record of the interview by Ms JP on 9 December 2016 and by Student 4 on 3 January 2017.


7. The objection made on behalf of the Registrant was that it was unfair for him to face factual particulars concerning a student who would not be presented as a witness. It was submitted that her evidence should be wholly excluded. It was submitted that the inability to undertake cross-examination on behalf of the Registrant was a particularly acute factor as it was argued the evidence of Student 4 was the sole and decisive evidence so far as the identified particulars were concerned. It was also submitted that there was no explanation by the HCPC for the fact that Student 4 was not to be presented as a witness before the Panel. Reliance was placed on the decision of the High Court in El Karout v Nursing and Midwifery Council [2019] EWHC 28 (Admin). The HCPC opposed the application.


8. In reaching its decision on this application, the Panel accepted that the primary issue was one of admissibility. The question of what, if any, weight could be attributed to the hearsay evidence of Student 4 would only arise if the Panel initially decided that it would be fair and proper to admit it. On that crucial issue of admissibility, as the HCPC had tendered no explanation for not calling Student 4 as a witness, the Panel assumed that there was no good reason. It also accepted that Ms JP stated that when she interviewed Student 4, the latter did not seem to appreciate the full extent of the importance of the matter. However, to be set against this last factor, the interview was undertaken as part of a formal disciplinary investigation, Student 4 was given an explanation by Ms JP of the reason for the interview, and Student 4 was required to read and sign the notes of the interview as accurate. For these reasons the Panel considered that the words of Student 4 were not spoken in a casual or throwaway manner. Furthermore, the Panel did not accept that the evidence of Student 4 was the sole and decisive evidence in relation to either particular. So far as particular 4(A) was concerned, the HCPC proposed to call Student 2 to give evidence, and the evidence the HCPC proposed to adduce from her was that the request for the photograph was made of herself and Student 4 when both were present (see paragraphs 31 and following of Student 2’s witness statement). In relation to particular 5(G), the notes of Ms JP’s interview with Student 4 were silent on the issue alleged. Taking all relevant factors into account, the Panel decided that it was fair to permit the HCPC to adduce the evidence relating to Student 4. Having decided that it was admissible evidence, there would, of course, be the necessity for the Panel to assess when making its decision on the facts what, if any, weight could be attached to it given its hearsay nature and the fact that effective challenge of it could not be made.

 

The application in relation to the evidence of Ms JP.


9. As has already been stated, Ms JP conducted an investigation on behalf of the University. That investigation covered issues that overlap with those arising in the present case. The objection taken on behalf of the Registrant was that the evidence of Ms JP as contained in her witness statement, made for the present proceedings, contained elements of her opinion that resulted in her straying into giving expert evidence.


10. The way in which the Panel decided this application was to carefully consider the witness statement of Ms JP over the adjournment between the end of the first day of the hearing and the commencement of the second day. When the hearing reconvened on the second day, the Panel presented a copy of Ms JP’s witness statement with the redactions it considered to be appropriate. The Panel directed that assumptions, speculations and presumptions should be removed. The Panel distinguished between generalised factual expressions of how Ms JP experienced a witness she interviewed, such as “embarrassed” (which it considered to be factual and could be explored in cross-examination) and more ephemeral statements, such as “naïve” (which the Panel considered to be closer to expressions of opinion). In undertaking this exercise the Panel directed that certain elements of Ms JP’s statement should be redacted that had not been sought on behalf of the Registrant. In due course, Ms JP’s witness statement was redacted in accordance with the Panel’s decision, and the redacted statement was used when she gave her evidence before the Panel.


Application that the hearing should be conducted in private.


11. The application made on behalf of the Registrant was that the whole of the hearing should be conducted in private. It was submitted that such a direction was required both in the interests of justice and for the protection of private life, particularly the private life of the Registrant. In that latter regard reference was made to the health of the Registrant’s wife.


12. The Panel’s ruling on this application was that it declined to direct that the entirety of the case should be conducted in private. So far as the health of the Registrant’s wife was concerned, the Panel noted that the letter from Professor Wang to the HCPC requesting the proceedings be held in private, did not constitute medical evidence. Although the Panel had not been informed what condition she had suffered from, it was stated that she was no longer receiving treatment in respect of it. The Panel was satisfied that so far as details of medical conditions and evidence relating to other acutely personal matters were concerned, appropriate protection would be afforded by directing that the relevant parts of the hearing should be in private. In relation to the students identified in the factual particulars, although their description avoided the use of their names or even initials, nevertheless details such as the name of the university, their course of study and specific roles as students could result in them being identified. Accordingly, the Panel directed that any such details would also need to be discussed in a private session of the case.


The approach to the different stages of the case.


13. Before the Presenting Officer opened the case there was a discussion about the most appropriate way for the different elements of the Allegation to be decided. It was agreed that it was appropriate for the Panel to reach a decision on the factual particulars and announce that decision before the parties, either by way of evidence or submissions, would address any further stages. In the event of the Panel finding facts alleged by the HCPC to be proven, the case would continue with the issues of misconduct and current impairment of fitness to practise being considered in a further segment of the case. In relation to this discussion, Ms Mauladad confirmed that it was intended that the Registrant would be recalled to give evidence in the event of misconduct and current impairment of fitness to practise being considered. It follows from this decision as to the approach to the hearing, that this determination is confined to the factual elements of the case.


Background:


14. The Registrant graduated with an undergraduate honours degree in Psychology in 1981, followed by an MPhil in Cognitive Psychology in 1985. From 1996 until 2004 he worked as Consultant Clinical Psychologist with a Community NHS Trust, a post that carried with it a University Honorary Clinical Lectureship. In 2005 he worked as a Staff and Student Counsellor at the University at which he had held his Honorary Clinical Lectureship. From 2005 to 2014 he was Head of Psychology for an organisation related to a specific disability, during which period he also worked as a Consultant Clinical Psychologist in the Forensic Psychology Department of an NHS Trust. In 2015 he took up the role of Pathway Lead working for the Educational Psychology Department of a local authority working in the same area as the disability with which he had been concerned for the previous 10 years.


15. In June 2015 the Registrant was appointed to the post of Academic Coordinator for the University. In that role he was lecturer on both the Psychology and Psychology & Counselling undergraduate courses. A fact that is also relevant to the allegations made by the HCPC is that concurrently with his employment with the University, the Registrant carried on a private practice in a town some distance from the University.


16. Student 1 commenced her studies at the University in September 2015. She was somewhat older than the other students relevant to this Allegation, having graduated with a degree in a different area of study approximately ten years before she embarked on her studies at the University. Student 1 initially enrolled on a course in Psychology alone, but in about the first week of October 2015 she attended a lecture given by the Registrant on Counselling, a module of that single subject course of study. During this lecture, Student 1 met Student 4. Student 1 appreciated the Registrant’s approach, finding him to be, in Student 1’s own description of him, “quirky and a bit different”. She was drawn to his personality as she was to the subject of the lecture. Approximately a week later both Student 1 and Student 4 went to the University’s offices to request that they be permitted to switch from the single subject Psychology course to the joint Psychology and Counselling course.


17. Student 2 commenced her studies at the same time as Student 1 although she was already enrolled on the joint honours Psychology and Counselling course.


18. Student 3 was a student on the single honours Psychology course (and not the joint Psychology and Counselling course to which Student 1 and Student 4 transferred). She was aware of, but in effect did not know, either Student 1 or Student 2. After her involvement with the Registrant, as is relevant to these proceedings, Student 3 did not make a complaint about his behaviour. She did, however, tell her mother about what had happened. Her mother worked at the University, and Student 3 became involved in the investigation by the University after the investigation into matters concerning the other students commenced.


19. Student 4 was a student originally enrolled on the single honours Psychology course who switched courses at the same time as Student 1.


20. A factor that is relevant to the Panel’s decisions is that the Registrant developed a practice of meeting informally after lectures with a smaller group of students. This group was not specifically chosen by the Registrant, but it comprised predominantly of Student 1, Student 2 and Student 4. These meetings were known to some members of the group as the “Apprentice Club”.


21. Concerns were first raised by Student 2 in a complaint made to Student Advice at the University on 8 November 2016. That complaint was referred to Mr PD, the manager of the Student Advice Team. Ms AC from the Human Resources Department also became involved. Ms JP (whose role as investigator has already been referred to) was first approached by Ms AC on 15 November 2016. Subsequently, on 5 December 2016 she was asked to consider further issues relating to Student 3.


Decision on Facts:


22. When the Panel met, over the course of three days, to make its decision on the facts it had the benefit of written submissions prepared by parties. The Panel paid close and repeated attention to these submissions. The Panel had also had a full transcript of the entire hearing to date and made extensive references to it, as it had to the written witness statements and the documentary exhibits.


23. The submissions of the parties included extensive references to reported authorities relating to the assessment of witness evidence and to the burden and standard of proof. The Panel does not consider that the intelligibility of its decision would be enhanced were it to analyse those authorities in depth. What the Panel considers necessary is to summarise the approach it has taken, which has been as follows:


• It is for the HCPC to prove the factual contentions it has advanced against the Registrant in the Allegation. At no stage is it for the Registrant to disprove what is alleged against him.


• The standard to which the HCPC is required to prove the facts is the balance of probabilities. This does not result in the burden being easily discharged. In a case, as the present one is, where the Allegation is serious, a heightened examination of the evidence is required before it would be appropriate to find that an experienced Psychologist had indulged in the serious and deliberate behaviour alleged by the HCPC.


• The question of whether the burden of proof has been discharged cannot be answered by considering the demeanour of the witnesses alone. The demeanour of an honest but utterly mistaken witness could be such as to encourage a panel to accept the witnesses’ evidence. While demeanour is relevant, the Panel has also to consider the oral evidence of the witnesses in a wider context, including how consistent a witness has been, how that evidence stands in relation to documentary evidence where it exists and to the evidence of other witnesses.


• Added to these factors, the Panel has kept in mind that the events occurred some years ago. This factor has the potential not only for genuine memories to have faded, but also for honest witnesses to have reinforced a belief in matters as to which they are, in truth, mistaken.


• In addition to these factors it has been necessary for the Panel to consider whether there has been malicious fabrication on the part of the witnesses and collusion between them to construct a case against the Registrant.


• Further, the Panel heeded the advice it received from the Legal Assessor as to the significance of the Registrant’s good character.


24. In relation to some of the factual particulars alleged by the HCPC, the evidence of more than one student is relevant. However, in relation to the majority, the contention stands or falls upon the evidence of a single student. This is not surprising given that, in the main, the events are alleged to have occurred when only the Registrant and the particular student were present. Furthermore, the nature of the complaints is such that, in relation to most, it would not be expected that there would be contemporaneous documentation. All of these factors result in the Panel’s assessment of the witnesses being of the utmost importance. Being conscious of this fact the Panel scrutinised with great care all of the material before it to be satisfied as to whether it undermined the HCPC’s case, supported the Registrant’s case or was simply neutral.


Student 1.


25. Student 1 gave evidence by video link. The Panel found her to be clear, concise and consistent. She was a careful witness who thought about the questions she was asked before answering them and was measured in her replies. The Panel found that there was no embellishment in her account, and she was ready to acknowledge her own shortcomings, for example, acknowledging that she could be flirtatious. A particularly striking feature of her attendance at the hearing as the person who could properly be described as the principal complainant is that she had not wished to make a complaint against the Registrant. The manner in which the University became aware of matters as a result of Student 2’s disclosure has already been described. Furthermore, during her evidence before the Panel she disclosed that she had not wished to become involved as a witness for her own purposes. However, she understood the importance of fitness to practise proceedings and had been told that steps would be taken to compel her attendance if she did not agree to give evidence. The Panel was particularly impressed by the evidence of Student 1 relating to the person said to be relevant to the issue raised by Schedule A, number 29. She declined to name the person she understood to have been involved with the Registrant, even in a private session of the hearing. Her reason for refusing to disclose the name was that she still considered those disclosures to be confidential and her respect for the other person’s privacy resulted in her not disclosing details that could lead to her identification. For all these reasons the Panel found that she was not maliciously motivated against the Registrant.


26. The Panel concluded that it could safely rely on the evidence of Student 1.


Student 2.


27. Student 2 gave evidence by video link. The Panel found Student 2 to be a calm and credible witness. She was very matter of fact, and she was forthcoming when she was unable to remember. Unsurprisingly, her recollection of events with which she was directly concerned was significantly clearer than of events that had been described to her by Student 1. It follows that she was clearer about what took place in lectures and at the “Apprentice Club”. The Panel found that she was not maliciously motivated against the Registrant. For example, with regard to the Easter incident in the Snug, although she said that she thought the experience weird and that she thought that the Registrant might have been trying to hypnotise her, she did not allege that he had done so. Furthermore, Student 2 was candid, an example being her recognition that at the time when she said she was asked to send a full body photograph of herself from her private email address to the Registrant at his private email address, she believed that he was intending to perform some sort of healing with the photograph, she added that, as she gave her evidence, she felt stupid admitting that she had believed that.


28. The Panel was satisfied that it could rely on the evidence of Student 2 so far as she gave direct evidence about interactions with the Registrant she personally observed. As already stated, the Panel found her recollection of reports given to her by others to be less reliable. For this reason the evidence of Student 2 does not bolster the account of Student 1. Where there is a discrepancy between the direct account of Student 1 and Student 2’s recollection of what she was told by Student 1, the Panel has preferred the account of Student 1 but it has also considered the implications of that discrepancy to decide if it impacts on Student 1’s reliability.


Student 3.


29. Student 3 gave evidence to the Panel in the hearing room. As has already been stated, for all practical purposes Student 3 did not know Student 1 and Student 2. Accordingly, the Panel was satisfied there was no collusion between them. The Panel found that she gave her evidence in an understated, clear and concise manner, and that she did not embellish. Student 3 did not raise a complaint against the Registrant, and the Panel found that fact to be consistent with its assessment of her as a witness who was not maliciously fabricating a case against him. It is significant that Student 3 had had a previous experience of hypnosis, and that resulted in her remarking that her session with the Registrant was very different to her previous experience.


30. The Panel was satisfied that the evidence of Student 3 could safely be relied upon.


Ms JP.


31. Ms JP’s role had the necessary consequence that, with the exception of particular 9, she could give no direct evidence concerning the factual particulars. The Panel was satisfied that she performed her role in a professional manner, identified all of the relevant issues as they were presented at the time, was objective and carried out her task without having a personal agenda, and that she recorded the information accurately.

Student 4.


32. An assessment of Student 4 as a witness is not appropriate as she was not called to give evidence before the Panel. As has already been stated, at the commencement of the hearing the Panel directed that her evidence should be admitted, with the weight properly to be attributed to her evidence being assessed in the light of the knowledge that she would not be cross-examined. In the event, when the Panel met to make its findings on the facts it decided that fairness to the Registrant required it to discount the evidence of Student 4 when deciding whether the HCPC had provided evidence that supported a factual contention. It does not follow from this that the Panel wholly ignored the evidence of Student 4 because the Panel did review the record of the interview conducted by Ms JP on 8 December 2016 to see whether it contained information that contradicted accounts given by other HCPC witnesses or in some other way supported the case of the Registrant.


The Registrant.


33. The Panel did not find the Registrant to be a compelling witness. His evidence tended to be discursive and reactive in the sense that a reply would be given to address a particular issue, but that reply would often not bear sensible scrutiny or be consistent with other replies. Given the seriousness of the Panel’s reservations concerning his evidence, it is necessary to give some examples:


• On 15 May 2016 the Registrant sent an email to Student 3 relating to a suggested “research project”. The email contains this sentence, “So far a few others have joined my research project (but they are not in your class and of course we maintain confidentiality strictly) and there has been excellent results which is satisfying for them and a joy for me.” When asked about this research project by Ms JP in her investigation on 14 December 2016, and in particular asked about the other students taking part in the research project, he said, “Not [University] students. They are Assistant Psychologists from up and down the country.” In contrast, at the University’s disciplinary hearing on 11 January 2017, the Registrant said that the comment in the email to Student 3 was made in relation to paper research, not a research project. In replies to Panel questions at the present hearing, the Registrant confirmed that there was no research project, only preparatory work towards such a project and that there had been no disclosure to the University or the Registrant’s Line Manager about the proposal. At the University’s disciplinary hearing he said that, “…. he didn’t want to inform the School’s management team of his research idea until he was sure it was viable; he wanted it to be a nice surprise for them”


• In relation to whether the Registrant had displayed a photograph of Student 1 in his private clinic, the Registrant advanced an extraordinary suggestion in the context of the University’s investigation. Commencing at Exhibit page D121 is a Statement “Short Version”, which at page D126 contains a possible explanation for Student 3 seeing Student 1’s photograph at the clinic. The suggestion appeared to contain three elements. First, that when the Registrant was out of the room, Student 1 might, “…. have deliberately put her photo in my clinic to show off that I was (apparently besotted with her), far fetched this may sound”. Secondly, that he did not notice it had been so positioned either on that day or on any other occasion before or during Student 3’s visit to the clinic. Thirdly, it had been subsequently removed by Student 1 on a yet further occasion. This is an example of an explanation or possible explanation that can most generously be described as tortuous.


• During an exchange of WhatsApp messages between Student 1 and the Registrant, in which the former had offered the latter a sofa she no longer required, a misunderstanding arose as a result of a message being missed. In this context the Registrant wrote a message that included the following words, “Obviously you had missed a text unless you thought I could also read your mind or should that be lips?” Those words were immediately followed by an emoji winking with a tongue extended. When asked in cross examination why he had used the word “lips”, the Registrant replied as follows: “Right. This is my silly sense of humour. I can see that people can – and she – could take a different interpretation of it, yeah. For me, reading your mind – in cognitive therapy, we tell people, ‘Don’t read mind’. Psychologists, Clinical Psychologists in particular, know that one of the things we tell people is not to read people’s minds. Number two, I work in autism; reading people’s lips is to – if you don’t understand what the person is saying, you can lip-read. That was, if you like, the context in my mind or in my head, but clearly the context here, I can see that she might think that’s being flirtatious, and now, when I look back, I wouldn’t write this. As I might have said earlier, was I drunk when I wrote this, yeah? I do have a silly sense of humour……”


34. While acknowledging, of course, that the Registrant had nothing to prove, the Panel nevertheless concluded that the extent to which it could rely on his evidence was limited.


Professor Wang.


35. Professor Wang was called as a character witness on behalf of the Registrant. He had known the Registrant for longer than 30 years. In that period the Registrant had been a colleague and supervisee. He provided positive character evidence whilst acknowledging that the Registrant has, “shown poor judgement in relation to certain issues and has been naïve.” The Panel has fully considered his evidence when reaching its decisions.


36. A number of the factual particulars that the Panel has been required to consider involve the HCPC advancing a case that the Registrant hypnotised Student 1 and Student 3 and attempted to hypnotise Student 2. The Registrant’s position was that he did not hypnotise or attempt to hypnotise any of the students on any occasion. What he does, however, contend is that he was teaching Student 1 and Student 3 self-hypnosis. Neither student understood that they were being taught self-hypnosis, and the Panel has been unable to accept that, in circumstances where they were expecting to be hypnotised, they could have been mistaken and were in fact being taught self-hypnosis, particularly as they had both previously experienced hypnosis. The Panel rejects the Registrant’s case that he was teaching self-hypnosis. When considering a particular that alleges hypnosis the Panel will not repeat this general finding.


Particular 1 and Schedule A.


37. Particular 1 incorporates the 30 specific instances alleged by the HCPC to have occurred between September 2015 and November 2016 and which the HCPC contends was inappropriate behaviour.


38. Each of the 30 incidents concern Student 1 and are dependant upon her evidence alone. Unfortunately, they are not presented in chronological sequence. It is, however, necessary to indicate some grouping of these alleged incidents. Incidents 11, 12 and 23 are alleged to have occurred when Student 1 accompanied the Registrant to the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy (“BABCP”) Conference in Belfast held between 14 and 17 June 2016. Incidents 4, 8 and 9 are alleged to have occurred later, and are specifics of what Student 1 categorised as the “final assault”. To the extent that it was possible to consider these incidents in chronological order, the Panel did so. It was a relevant exercise to undertake as a submission made on behalf of the Registrant was that it was unlikely that Student 1 would have continued to associate with the Registrant if her account was truthful. In the judgement of the Panel a chronological understanding of the incidents results in a picture where the incidents were of increasing gravity and that Student 1 reduced her interactions with the Registrant after “the final assault”.


39. The Panel has very carefully considered all the evidence relating to the 30 incidents and has concluded that in relation to each and every one of them it prefers the evidence of Student 1 to the evidence of the Registrant. Each of them is proven. Furthermore, the Panel is satisfied that the behaviour was inappropriate. Accordingly, particular 1 is proven.

Particular 2(a) & (b).


40. It is common ground that the Registrant was not a physician, still less Student 1’s treating physician. The Panel accepts the evidence of Student 1 that at the relevant time she was taking a low dose of anti-depressant medication. It also accepts her evidence that the Registrant advised her to stop taking that medication and encouraged her to undergo hypnosis to counteract any effects of that cessation.


41. Accordingly, particulars 2(a) and (b) are proven.


Particulars 3 (A) to (E).


42. Particular 3 is concerned with Student 3 on 25 May 2016 when she attended the Registrant’s private clinic.


43. The Panel finds that after a first hypnosis that afternoon, the Registrant told Student 3 that she was making good progress and that a head massage would result in better progress. Accordingly, Student 3’s evidence is that she agreed to her head being massaged, and it was in fact massaged. The Registrant stated that he told Student 3 to imagine her head being massaged as part of the process of teaching her self-hypnosis, and he did not touch her. A striking feature of Student 3’s evidence was that she was a person who did not really like people in her personal space, a factor relevant to her emphatic evidence that she remembered being touched. The Panel prefers the evidence of Student 3 to that of the Registrant in this regard.


44. As to the manner in which the hypnosis was undertaken, the Panel accepts that the Registrant stared into Student 3’s eyes, but it does not find sufficient evidence that he placed his arms on either side of the chair on which Student 3 was sitting. There are suggestions to the effect that he did in the statement made by Student 3 for the purposes of the University’s investigation, but no such contention was made in the witness statement made for the purposes of the present proceedings. When asked about this at the hearing, Student 3 said that she could not remember.


45. The Panel accepts the evidence of Student 3 that she saw the record button on the Registrant’s mobile telephone being activated. It rejected the evidence of the Registrant. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the session was in fact recorded.


46. The Panel accepts the evidence of Student 3 that the Registrant spoke words to the effect that the inner beauty of people comes out under hypnosis and that Student 3 herself glowed and smiled. It rejected the evidence of the Registrant that he did not speak words to this effect. Accordingly, it finds that these words were spoken.


47. Accordingly, particulars 3(A), (C), (D) and (E) are proven. Particular 3(B) is not proven.


Particulars 4(A) to (G).


48. Particular 4 includes a number of disparate contentions relating to Student 1, Student 2 and Student 4, as well as the whole class. It is alleged that the behaviour was inappropriate.


49. The Panel accepts the evidence of Student 2 that the Registrant requested both her and Student 4 to provide photographs of themselves, and also that he requested them to send the photographs from a private email address to his private email address. The Panel rejects the Registrant’s contention that this did not happen.


50. The Panel accepts the evidence that the Registrant slammed his fist on the desk while delivering a lecture. The Panel finds that this action was something more than emphasising a point as it also accepts the evidence it received that course members who attended the lecture expressed shock at the Registrant’s actions.


51. The Panel accepts the evidence of both Student 1 and Student 2 that the Registrant angrily made a comment to all members of the class, who were present on the occasion about coming down hard if complaints were made. It rejects the Registrant’s denial of this behaviour.


52. The Panel accepts the evidence of Student 1 that the Registrant asked her to provide a headshot photograph of herself. It also accepts her evidence that it was displayed at his private clinic, a fact corroborated by the evidence of Student 3, who saw it there when she visited on 25 May 2016. The Panel rejects the Registrant’s denial that he made the request, as it does any suggestion that Student 1 herself placed the photograph unbeknown to him.


53. The Panel accepts the evidence of Student 1 that the Registrant said words to the effect that the photograph of her was perfect because he could see her soul reflected in her eyes. The Panel rejects the Registrant’s denial.


54. The Panel accepts the evidence of Student 1 that the Registrant told her that his guide had told him that he could not trust Student 2. The Registrant said that Student 2 had closed the door to him and there was a darkness within her. He said that as a result Student 1 should be careful around Student 2. The Panel rejects the Registrant’s denial that he spoke words to this effect.


55. The Panel accepts the evidence of Student 2 that the Registrant made similar remarks to her concerning Student 1, including that negative messages, signs and warnings had been given to him by his higher being. He said that he did not trust Student 1 and had not worked her out. Again, the Panel rejects the Registrant’s denial that he spoke words to this effect.


56. The Panel is further satisfied that the proven sub-particulars constitute inappropriate behaviour. The consequence is that the entirety of particular 4 is proven.

Particulars 5(A) to (H).


57. The stem of particular 5 contends that the sub-particulars constituted a breach of professional boundaries.


58. The Panel has carefully reviewed all of the evidence bearing upon the various sub-particulars, and it has also carefully considered the Registrant’s evidence relating to them.


59. The Panel accepts Student 3’s recollection of the conversation about kidnapping. It notes that the Registrant accepted that there had been conversation about kidnapping, but the Panel does not accept his case that Student 3 misunderstood what he said.


60. The Panel accepts the evidence of Student 1 and Student 2 that the Registrant described each of them as a “soulmate” and as an “earth mother”.


61. The Registrant accepts that he gave Student 1 one or two books as a gift. The Panel finds that at least two books were given.


62. The Panel accepts the evidence of Student 1 that the Registrant spoke about having felt [redacted]. The Panel notes that the Registrant admitted that in order to de-stigmatise [redacted] feelings and to demonstrate that they do not have to be acted upon, in a lecture he disclosed to the whole class that he may have felt [redacted] when a relationship with a former girlfriend ended many years previously.


63. The Panel accepts the evidence of Student 1 that the Registrant spoke words to the effect of having been removed from a PhD course of study for being inappropriate with students. The Panel notes that the Registrant admits having spoken about his PhD, contending that he failed to obtain that degree on initial submission, saying that that he did so to underline the importance of persistence to obtain success. The issue for the Panel is not whether the Registrant was in fact removed from a PhD course for any reason, but whether he said the words claimed by Student 1. In this regard the Panel preferred the evidence of Student 1 to that of the Registrant.


64. The Panel accepts the evidence of Student 1 that the Registrant stated that she was his “professional wife”. It was the Registrant’s evidence that Student 1 described herself in this way. The Panel accepts the evidence of Student 1, and finds that she did not describe herself as a professional wife, but that the Registrant did.


65. The Panel accepts the evidence of Student 1 and Student 2 that the Registrant described them both, as well as Student 4, as “beautiful”. The Panel accepts that the description was applied to the person, and was not a remark such as, “that was beautifully put” as suggested by the Registrant.


66. The context of the contention that the Registrant referred to Student 1 as the “in-house expert on bi-polar” is that Student 1’s husband had recently been diagnosed with that condition. The Registrant admits that he referred to Student 1 as an in-house expert when there was a discussion in lectures relating to bi-polar in which Student 1 was participating. The Registrant stated that Student 1 described herself in this way first. Student 1, while acknowledging that she referred to her husband’s diagnosis, did not accept that she described herself as an expert. The Panel accepts the evidence of Student 1 in this regard, and rejects that of the Registrant.


67. It follows that all of the assertions of primary fact contained in particular 5 are proven. It was therefore necessary for the Panel to decide if these actions amounted to a breach of professional boundaries. In making that assessment the Panel kept in mind that the relevant students were not “service users” in the way in which that term would ordinarily be applied to the professional activities of a Practitioner Psychologist. Nevertheless, the fact remains that the Registrant was a Practitioner Psychologist, and he was in a position of trust with regard to the students because of his employment at the University. Although the events covered by the sub-particulars arose in a variety of different contexts, the Panel is satisfied that they had a substantial connection to the Registrant’s status as a Practitioner Psychologist and constituted a breach of the professional boundaries a Practitioner Psychologist is obliged to maintain.


68. The consequence of these findings is that the entirety of particular 5 is proven.


Particular 6.


69. Reference has already been made to this incident by the Panel when it described its general assessment of Student 2.


70. The Panel accepts as truthful the evidence of Student 2 that she believed that the Registrant was attempting to hypnotise her. That acceptance has the consequence that what might be termed a suspicion threshold has been established. However, the particular under consideration alleges as a proposition of fact that the Registrant did in fact attempt to hypnotise Student 2. As to that, the Panel finds that Student 2’s suspicion is insufficient to prove the matter, and also that there is no other evidence upon which a finding could be made that the Registrant made such an attempt.


71. The consequence of these findings is that particular 6 is not proven.


Particulars 7 and 8.


72. Although concerning, respectively, Student 3 and Student 1, the issues to be decided in relation to these particulars are the same, namely whether hypnosis took place, and, if it did, whether it occurred without formal consent.


73. For the reasons already explained, the Panel finds that what took place with regard to both students was hypnosis and not, as contended by the Registrant, instruction in self-hypnosis. Both students had had previous experience of hypnosis. Both students acknowledged that they attended the Registrant’s clinic wanting and expecting hypnosis.


74. As to formal consent, the Panel has construed that term as real consent. For consent to be meaningful it must have extended beyond merely wanting and expecting hypnosis. It would require an explanation of the possible risks or disadvantages of being hypnotised. As the Registrant denies that he did in fact hypnotise either student on any occasion, it is logically not easy to see how he can possibly have obtained consent for the hypnosis that the Panel finds he actually undertook. Nevertheless, the Registrant made no record of any exchange with either student that could have amounted to the obtaining of real consent, and the Panel is satisfied that he did not obtain it.


75. The Panel finds that Particulars 7 and 8 are proven.
Particular 9.


76. In the context of the University’s investigation, the Panel is satisfied that the Registrant provided to Ms JP (Person A) Student 1’s personal worksheet from the BABCP Conference which contained confidential information relating to Student 1.


77. Particular 9 is proven.


Particular 10.


78. As to the condition of Student 1 at the relevant period, the Panel finds that the Registrant knew or believed that she was vulnerable. The Registrant contended that he advised her to seek help from her General Practitioner in respect of the medication. The Panel finds that he did not make a reference to seeking help from the General Practitioner with regard to medication, or any other relevant services in relation to medication or other matters.


79. Particular 10 is proven.


Particular 11.


80. Particular 11 alleges that certain actions of the Registrant were sexually motivated in that they were done in pursuit of sexual gratification and/or in pursuit of a future sexual relationship. Clearly, this is an allegation of the gravest nature, and it is one that the Panel considered with great care. Before explaining the Panel’s approach to its decision in relation to this particular, it is necessary to address a submission advanced on behalf of the Registrant. At paragraph 143 of Ms Mauladad’s written submissions it is contended that the Panel could not base a finding of sexual motivation on any basis other than particular 1/Schedule A because no other case was put to the Registrant in cross-examination. The Panel rejects this submission. Having reviewed the transcript, the Panel finds that the Presenting Officer gave the Registrant an opportunity to comment on the HCPC’s case in this regard, while properly and fairly acknowledging the difficulty faced by a witness in the position of the Registrant when the facts of the case are comprehensively denied.


81. The Panel considered that there were three quite distinct stages that had to be considered in relation to particular 11, namely:


• First, to identify what behaviour the HCPC is alleging, and that the Panel has found proven, that is relevant to this particular.


• Secondly, to consider the ambit of the sexual motivation alleged.


• Thirdly, to decide if the HCPC has provided evidence from which the Panel could and should make a finding in relation to any one or more of the students. In this regard, it is noteworthy that Particular 11 does not allege (as it might have done), “your actions were sexually motivated in relation to Student 1 and/or Student 2 and/or Student 3 and/or Student 4”. Rather, by advancing the particular by reference to particulars, some of which relate to more than one student, there would be a risk of an unsound judgement being made by the Panel, and in particular, one that might be unfair to the Registrant. Were the Panel to find that the Registrant had been sexually motivated in behaving in a certain way towards one student, it would not automatically follow that he had the same motivation towards another student or other students, even if his overt acts were similar. At the same time, it is necessary to consider all the relevant proven matters when making this decision because an act that, if taken in isolation, could not possibly justify a finding of sexual motivation could take on a different significance when considered cumulatively with other actions.


82. The particulars of primary fact that are said to have occurred as a result of sexual motivation are particulars 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 10. Of these contentions, the Panel has not found 3B to be proven. Furthermore, it is necessary to consider the contention of sexual motivation by reference to individual students, considering, of course, only the relevant proven particulars. Accordingly, the Registrant’s actions were the following:


• In relation to Student 1:

o all of the specific incidents alleged by Schedule A;

o particular 2 concerning the cessation of anti-depressant medication;

o the whole class actions and words found by particulars 4(B) & (C) and 5(D) & (E);

o the request for and comment about the photograph in particular 4(D) & (E);

o the attempt to drive a wedge between her and Student 2 (particular 4(F) & (G));

o using words such as “soulmate”, “earth mother”, “professional wife”, describing her as “beautiful” and the description of her as “in-house expert on bi-polar” (particulars 5(B), (F), (G) & (H));

o the gift of two books (particular 5(C));

o performing hypnosis without obtaining formal consent (particular 8); and,

o not referring to relevant services when becoming aware of mental or emotional vulnerability (particular 10).


• In relation to Student 2:

o the request that she should send a photograph of herself from a private email address to the Registrant’s private email address (particular 4(A));

o the whole class allegations already referred to;

o the attempt to drive a wedge between her and Student 1 (particulars 4(F) & (G)); and,

o describing her as “soulmate”, “earthmother” and “beautiful” (particulars 5(B) & (G)).


• In relation to Student 3:

o massaging her head (particular 3(A));

o recording the hypnosis session on his telephone (particular 3(C));

o saying words to the effect that he would have liked to have video recorded the hypnosis session because under hypnosis inner beauty comes out (particular 3(D));

o stating words to the effect that she glowed and smiled (particular 3(E)); and,

o the conversation about kidnapping (particular 5(A));


• In relation to Student 4:

o the request that she should send a photograph of herself from a private email address to the Registrant’s private email address (particular 4(A));

o the description of “beautiful” in the informal meetings after lectures (particular 5(G)); and,

o the whole class comments and actions.


83. As to what is meant by “sexual motivation”, in the present case that issue is dictated by the elaboration the HCPC specifically alleged, namely that it is something “done in pursuit of sexual gratification” and/or “in pursuit of a future sexual relationship”. Neither sexual gratification nor sexual relationships are dependent upon, or defined by, sexual intercourse.


84. In deciding whether the inference of sexual motivation should properly be drawn so that it is consistent with burden and standard of proof, the Panel considered whether there was any realistic explanation for the proven behaviour other than that it was sexually motivated. When considered in this manner, the Panel concluded that in relation to Student 1, the overtly sexualised behaviour that was repeated and persisted in, over a lengthy period of time, allows no other explanation than that it was sexually motivated. In relation to Student 2, clearly there were fewer incidents, but the Panel has concluded that the Registrant was sexually motivated towards her, and, having had the opportunity of observing Student 2 give her evidence, the fact that matters did not develop as they did with Student 1 was because she was less receptive to the Registrant’s actions. The same factor explains why the particulars relevant to Student 3 are more limited as Student 3 elected to have no further contact with the Registrant after the visit to his private clinic on 25 May 2016. So far as Student 4 is concerned, the request for the full body photograph to be sent from and to private email addresses, coupled with the description of her as “beautiful” and her attendance at the “Apprentice Club” meetings has resulted in the Panel concluding that sexual motivation is established also in relation to her.


85. The consequence of these findings is that particular 11 is proven.

 

Resumed final hearing on 09 September 2020:


86. The Panel was convened today to continue with the final hearing in the case of the Registrant, Dr Alladin. Before the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the disruption of hearings, the Panel had concluded its deliberations on the facts. It had been intended to continue with the case in order to address the issues of misconduct, impairment of fitness to practise and sanction, commencing on 20 April 2020. The pandemic resulted in those hearing dates being cancelled. The present hearing, arranged as a virtual hearing, was subsequently scheduled to commence today, 9 September 2020, to take place over five consecutive working days.

 

87. Yesterday, 8 September 2020 the HCPC received an application on behalf of the Registrant to adjourn the hearing. The application was supported by a written submission prepared by Mr Rory Dunlop QC dated 8 September 2020, and by a letter dated 7 September 2020 written by a partner in the GP practice at which the Registrant is registered.

 

88. The Panel was satisfied that the hearing could properly be conducted as a virtual hearing. All of the participants who wished or needed to participate did so and the Panel was satisfied that it had a proper opportunity to discuss together the matters arising.

 

89. The hearing commenced (as it had been directed pre-pandemic that the proposed April 2020 resumption would commence) with the Panel Chair handing down the Panel’s decision on the facts. The Panel’s decision had been communicated in draft form to the parties some months previously.

 

90. After the decision on the facts was handed down, the Panel heard the Registrant’s application that the hearing should be adjourned. As the basis of this application was the Registrant’s health, the Panel directed that this part of the hearing should be treated as having taken place in private. Further, this decision henceforth should similarly be treated as private.

 

Application to adjourn

 

91. On behalf of the Registrant, Mr Dunlop submitted that the matter was governed by the well-known decision of the Divisional Court in the reported case of Brabazon-Denning v UK Central Council for Nursing Midwifery and Health Visiting [2001] HRLR 6, in which the following was stated:

 

“Save in very exceptional cases where the public interest points strongly to the contrary, it must be wrong for a committee which has the livelihood and reputation of a professional individual in the palm of its hands, to go on with a hearing when there is unchallenged medical evidence that the individual is simply not fit to withstand the rigors of the disciplinary process.”

 

92. The HCPC did not formally object to the application for the adjournment. The HCPC did however make observations that they considered this to be a serious and significant case with public interest factors at play. The HCPC also submitted that it appeared that the Interim Order was having a detrimental effect on the Registrant’s health and that it was therefore in the Registrant’s interests that proceedings were finalised expeditiously.

 

Panel’s decision in relation to the adjournment application

 

93. The Panel accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice that it should consider itself obliged to apply the decision in Brabazon-Denning.

 

94. The Panel accepted that the letter written by his GP was medical evidence, that it was not contradicted and that it stated that the Registrant was unable to participate in the hearing at the present time. Accordingly, and notwithstanding reservations held by the Panel concerning the GP’s letter indicated below, the Panel concluded that the hearing should be adjourned.

 

95. Two distinct factors required the Panel to make directions as to the future conduct of the case. They were:

 

• The need to resolve the case as expeditiously as is consistent with the requirement to ensure that the hearing is conducted fairly. The Panel accepted the submission made by Mr Dunlop that the witnesses had given their evidence and therefore the consideration of fading witness memory is not an issue requiring expedition. However, in the view of the Panel, the public interest in fitness to practise hearings reaching a conclusion remains an important consideration. Furthermore, in circumstances where there is a suggestion that the on-going fitness to practise proceedings are having a deleterious effect on the Registrant, it may well be in his interests for matters to be concluded.

 

• The reservations the Panel had concerning the GP’s letter.

o The letter was written on 7 September 2020 following a telephone conversation between the GP and the Registrant on Friday 4 September 2020. There is no indication in the letter whether the GP or his practice had any relevant history of the sort mentioned in the letter, but the statement by the GP that the Registrant was, “… an otherwise normally resilient professional gentleman” might suggest that there was not.

 

96. The importance of making directions was so that the Panel can ensure that any future decisions on the further conduct of this case are made in the interests of the Registrant and in the wider public interest.

 

97. In the light of the reservations concerning the present medical evidence, the Panel stated to the parties the areas that it wished any future medical evidence to cover. They were diagnosis, prognosis and any steps that could facilitate the active participation by the Registrant in a future hearing.

 

98. When the hearing reconvened, after the Presenting Officer had had an opportunity to take instructions on the matter.

 

99. When the Panel reconvened it was also informed that the parties had been able to agree directions.


Case management hearing on 23 October 2020:

 

100. All parties reconvened on 23 October 2020 at a case management hearing. The purpose of the hearing was for the Panel to be provided with an update on the Registrant’s health and whether he would be able to attend the resumed final hearing listed for 02 – 06 November 2020, as set out in the directions which had been drafted between the Registrant’s representatives and the HCPC on 09 September 2020.

 

101. Those directions set out that the Registrant was to provide a report from an appropriately qualified person following a face to face assessment. It was also directed that if the Registrant was unable to attend due to ill health then the Panel would expect an update on how long it was likely to be before he recovered sufficiently to be fit for a hearing and; what treatment would be required to facilitate his recovery.

 

102. Prior to the case management hearing the Registrant’s representatives, provided a bundle (of 75 pages) which made several submissions for the Panel to consider at the case management hearing. These included an application for the remainder of the substantive hearing to be held entirely in private, an updated position on the Registrant’s health and a submission to reopen the factual finding on particular 11 based upon the updated health information. Not all of these matters could be dealt with in the time allotted at the case management hearing (which was only listed for half a day). The Panel was able to consider the application for the remainder of the proceedings (on 02 November 2020 onwards) to be conducted entirely in private.

 

103. Following the submissions on privacy being made the Panel retired to deliberate however, due to a lack of allotted time the Panel were unable to reach and draft a decision on the privacy application. Therefore, the Panel adjourned the proceedings but announced that they would provide a decision on the matter of privacy at the first date of the resumed final hearing, Monday 02 November 2020.

 

104. It was directed that prior to the resumed hearing on 02 November 2020, Mr Olphert should provide a further skeleton argument relating to the HCPC’s position on the proposed reopening of factual particular 11, no later than 5pm on Wednesday 28 October 2020. It was further directed that any response to the HCPC’s skeleton argument should be provided by Mr Dunlop, no later than 5pm on Friday 30 October 2020.


Resumed final hearing on 02 November 2020:

 

Ruling of the Panel on the Registrant’s application that the entirety of the proceedings be held in private (handed down on 2 November 2020)


105. This is the ruling of the Panel on one of the two applications made on behalf of the Registrant by a Skeleton Argument dated 21 October and prepared by Mr Rory Dunlop. The Panel heard oral argument on the application on Friday 23 October 2020, when a virtual hearing had been scheduled for the morning only of that day for reasons that will be described below. There was insufficient time for the Panel to conclude both its decision on the application and the production of a written ruling on it. Accordingly, it was decided that the Panel’s decision would be announced at the commencement of the next scheduled hearing on Monday 2 November 2020.

 

106. Before turning to explain the present application, it is necessary to explain something of the history of the case.

 

107. The final hearing of the HCPC’s allegation against the Registrant commenced on 18 November 2019. Between that date and 28 November 2019, the Panel heard evidence in relation to the factual issues in the case. On 28 November 2019, the hearing was adjourned for written submissions on the factual issues to be submitted. When the case was adjourned on 28 November 2019, it was envisaged that any remaining stages in the case would be addressed at further (in-person) hearings to take place in late April 2020, it also being envisaged that before that resumed hearing the Panel would have sent in draft form its decision on the facts. In the event, the further hearings scheduled for April 2020 were cancelled as a result of the social distancing requirements resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, before those distancing restrictions came into force, and after the written submissions on the facts had been prepared by the parties and received by the HCPTS, the Panel was able to convene in private to make its decisions on the facts. The facts were recorded in writing, and those findings were subsequently sent to the parties in a draft, embargoed form.

 

108. There are two factors that should be mentioned before continuing with the chronology. One is that when the case commenced in November 2019, Counsel then acting for the Registrant made a number of applications that were ruled upon by the Panel before the case was opened and the witnesses called. One of these applications was that the hearing should be conducted entirely in private. In refusing this application, the Panel’s ruling (so far as the Registrant, as opposed to the potential identification of the HCPC witnesses, was concerned) delivered on 19 November 2019 was as in the following terms:

 

The Panel have considered the submissions of the parties, the Practice Note, and the advice of the Legal Assessor. The decision is to hold part of the hearing in private. The Panel do not consider the circumstances justify a decision in the public interest. We don’t believe it would be strictly necessary to hear the whole of the hearing in private on the public interest ground. The Panel consider that the protection of the private life of the Registrant, the witnesses, and any other complainants, can be sufficiently dealt with by hearing medical details in private and other acutely personal information concerning the private lives of students can be identified as they arise.

…………………..


The Panel consider that having heard all the evidence available in respect of the Registrant’s wife’s health, including the letter from Professor Wang, which we note is not medical evidence, and including confirmation that she is no longer receiving treatment for a condition, the condition not having been identified to the Panel, the Panel is unable to alter the normal position that the hearing should be in public on account of the Registrant’s wife. So, therefore, it will be partially in private as agreed between the parties, with the additional note that acutely personally information relating to the private lives of students will need to be identified if and when it becomes part of the evidence.

 

In the view of the Panel this earlier application that the hearing should be conducted in private is relevant only to explain that there is an extant ruling that any information of relating to medical conditions or of other acutely personal information could be given in private. It has neither been suggested that this ruling has not been observed in the case hitherto, nor that it should be departed from in future.

 

109. The second factor that should be mentioned is that the Panel has been informed that, upon the application of the Registrant, the HCPTS has departed from its usual practice of including the details of the allegation when it posted the forthcoming hearing dates on the HCPTS website. In fact, on Friday 23 October 2020 the Registrant himself told the Panel that the terms of the allegation had on one or more occasions appeared, albeit briefly, but it would seem from his comments that upon him complaining, they were removed again. It should be stressed that this departure from the usual practice was not as a result of a decision made by the Panel; it appears to have been an administrative decision made by the HCPTS. It would not be appropriate for the Panel to express an opinion on whether this decision was correctly made, and it does not do so. In the view of the Panel this issue can only be relevant in one respect, and that is that it removes from consideration a possible argument that the Panel should decline to make the order now sought because the terms of the allegation have already been placed in the public domain by being put on the forthcoming hearings section of the HCPTS website.

 

110. On 22 June 2020 the HCPTS sent a notice of hearing notifying the parties that the conclusion of the case (i.e. the hearings that, pre-COVID were scheduled to take place in April 2020) was scheduled to take place as a virtual hearing over five days commencing on 9 September 2020.

 

111. The Registrant did not appear at the virtual hearing on 9 September 2020. An application was made on his behalf that the hearing should be adjourned, and in support of that application the Panel was provided with a written submission dated 8 September 2020 prepared by Mr Dunlop and a letter dated 7 September written by the Registrant’s General Practitioner. He stated that he had conducted a telephone consultation with the Registrant, the previous Friday 4 September 2020.

 

112. In light of the information provided by the GP, the Panel adjourned the virtual hearing listed to re-commence on 9 September 2020 for five days, again as a virtual hearing. However, before closing the hearing on 9 September 2020, the Panel raised the issue of when the hearing could take place. The initial view of the Panel was that it might be premature to re-schedule the continuation of the hearing, but on behalf of the Registrant, Mr Dunlop stated that the Registrant wished for the hearing to be relisted to continue. The “window” that could be provided when all participants could be available was five days commencing on Monday 2 November 2020, and in due course a formal notice of hearing was sent by the HCPTS confirming these dates. However, as precaution, the Panel stated that it wished to review matters at a case management hearing to be held during the morning of Friday 23 October 2020 so as to ensure that it would be possible to continue. The Panel stated that it would be helpful if, before 23 October 2020, thought could be given to any measures that would facilitate the Registrant’s future participation in the hearing.

 

113. The application with which this ruling is concerned was made at the case management hearing during the morning of Friday 23 October 2020. In support of the applications made (the other being put off until Monday 2 November 2020 as there was insufficient time to consider both), there was a bundle of some 75 pages. Of particular relevance to the present decision, the bundle contained a witness statement dated 21 October 2020 signed by the Registrant, a report dated 15 October 2020 prepared by a health professional, and a Skeleton Argument dated 21 October 2020 prepared by Mr Dunlop. Mr Dunlop developed his submissions orally at the hearing.

 

114. The Panel was provided with a Skeleton Argument prepared by the Presenting Officer on the day of the hearing, 23 October 2020, who also made oral submissions to the Panel.

 

115. The Registrant’s application is that all elements of the hearing henceforth should be conducted in private so that there would be absolutely no information, even as to the allegations being considered, being put in the public domain. It is submitted on behalf of the Registrant that such a direction is required:

 

• In the interests of justice on the basis that a blanket order of privacy is the only way in which it would be possible to guarantee that the hearing can proceed on 2 November 2020 by ensuring that the Registrant would be able to participate in the future stages of the hearing.

 

• As a necessary and proportionate measure to protect the private life of the Registrant.

 

116. In reaching its decision the Panel has paid close attention to the submissions of the parties, to the advice of the Legal Assessor, to the wording of rule 10(1)(a) of the Rules governing the procedure of this Committee, as well as to the terms of the relevant Practice Note. It has also heeded the advice of the Legal Assessor that the Panel should not be influenced by a belief that there will inevitably have to be some publication of the outcome of the case. This is because, although the Panel has already made factual findings against the Registrant, the case will be “not well founded” unless there are further findings against the Registrant, yet to be considered, of misconduct and current impairment of fitness to practise. If the eventual outcome of the case is that it is not well founded the statutory rules do not require publication of the outcome, and it can be assumed that in those circumstances the Registrant would not himself request that they should be.

 

117. The direction the Panel is being asked to make is one of considerable significance. The Panel does not doubt that a respondent to allegations of the nature advanced against the Registrant will be very likely to experience a number of stressful emotions, embarrassment, disquiet, anxiety and shame being amongst them. However, those emotions can be expected in cases such as this and it could not be sensibly argued that this should lead to an order for privacy in all, or nearly all, such cases. Such an outcome would mean that the more serious the allegation the less likely it is to be publicised. Whereas in truth the public interest in openness will invariably be greater the more serious the allegation. There will invariably be a conflict between the Registrant’s desire for privacy and the Panel’s responsibility to ensure that hearings are open and transparent when they can fairly and properly be held in public. The Panel has therefore examined with particular care the reasons advanced by the Registrant as demanding complete privacy in his case.

 

118. The Panel has very carefully considered this application and the information with which it has been supplied in relation to it. The conclusion of the Panel is that the information provided is wholly insufficient to make such a far-ranging direction so as to continue the hearing entirely in private. The Panel was unable to conclude that the risk of any such information in the future becoming public knowledge, or the fear that it might become public knowledge, was such that it could justify a finding that the future effect on the Registrant might realistically be such as would deprive him of a fair and effective opportunity to participate in the remainder of the hearing. Nor was there any other compelling reason to direct that the hearing should be conducted wholly in private in order to protect his private life or the life of any other person.

 

119. For the avoidance of doubt, the Panel is satisfied that refusing the application will not deprive the Registrant of a fair hearing.

 

120. The consequence of these findings is that the application is refused, any information of a confidential nature will continue to be heard in private in accordance with the existing direction.

 

Ruling of the Panel on the Registrant’s application that he be permitted to introduce further evidence in relation to, and that the Panel will reconsider its decision on, particular 11 (handed down on 3 November 2020)


121. This is the ruling of the Panel on the second of two applications made on behalf of the Registrant by a Skeleton Argument dated 21 October and prepared by Mr Rory Dunlop. The Panel heard oral argument on the application on Monday 2 November 2020, at the commencement of a five day hearing window that had been scheduled for the continuation and completion of the substantive issues in the case.

 

122. Before turning to explain the present application, it is necessary to explain something of the history of the case so far as it is relevant to this application.

 

123. The final hearing of the HCPC’s allegation against the Registrant commenced on 18 November 2019. Between that date and 28 November 2019, the Panel heard evidence in relation to the factual issues in the case. On 28 November 2019, the hearing was adjourned for written submissions on the factual issues to be submitted. When the case was adjourned on 28 November 2019, it was envisaged that any remaining stages in the case would be addressed at further (in-person) hearings to take place in late April 2020, it also being envisaged that before that resumed hearing the Panel would have sent in draft form its decision on the facts. In the event, the further hearings scheduled for April 2020 were cancelled as a result of the social distancing requirements resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, before those distancing restrictions came into force, and after the written submissions on the facts had been prepared by the parties and received by the HCPTS, the Panel was able to convene in private to make its decisions on the facts. The facts were recorded in writing, and those findings were subsequently sent to the parties in a draft, embargoed form in late March 2020.

 

124. On 22 June 2020 the HCPTS sent a notice of hearing notifying the parties that the conclusion of the case (i.e. the hearings that, pre-COVID were scheduled to take place in April 2020) was scheduled to take place as a virtual hearing over five days commencing on 9 September 2020.

 

125. On the 9 September 2020, the findings of fact, and the reasons for those findings reached by the Panel (which included the finding that particular 11 was proven) were formally handed down to be treated as having been read and incorporated into the transcript. An application was then made on the Registrant’s behalf that the hearing should be adjourned and the Panel agreed to that application. However, before closing the hearing on 9 September 2020, the Panel raised the issue of when the hearing could take place. The initial view of the Panel was that it might be premature to re-schedule the continuation of the hearing, but on behalf of the Registrant, Mr Dunlop stated that the Registrant wished for the hearing to be relisted to continue. The “window” that could be provided when all participants could be available was five days commencing on Monday 2 November 2020, and in due course a formal notice of hearing was sent by the HCPTS confirming these dates. However, as a precaution, the Panel stated that it wished to review matters at a case management hearing to be held during the morning of Friday 23 October 2020 so as to ensure effective use of resources and hearing capacity.

 

126. The application with which this ruling is concerned was made two days before the case management hearing arranged for the morning of Friday 23 October 2020. In support of the application, in addition to Mr Dunlop’s written submissions dated 21 October 2020 there was a witness statement of the same date made by the Registrant and a report dated 15 October 2020 prepared by a health professional. Subsequently, written submissions prepared by the Presenting Officer dated 28 October 2020 and a further written submission prepared by Mr Dunlop also dated 28 October 2020 were provided to the Panel.

 

127. The application is focused on particular 11. The terms of particular 11 are as follows:

 

11. Your actions at any or all of paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 10 were sexually motivated in that they were done in pursuit of sexual gratification and/or in pursuit of a future sexual relationship.

 

128. In the Panel’s decision on the facts handed down on 9 September 2020, the Panel found this particular to be proven. The reasons for that finding are set out in paragraphs 80 to 85 of the determination in these terms:

 

80. Particular 11 alleges that certain actions of the Registrant were sexually motivated in that they were done in pursuit of sexual gratification and/or in pursuit of a future sexual relationship. Clearly, this is an allegation of the gravest nature, and it is one that the Panel considered with great care. Before explaining the Panel’s approach to its decision in relation to this particular, it is necessary to address a submission advanced on behalf of the Registrant. At paragraph 143 of Ms Mauladad’s written submissions it is contended that the Panel could not base a finding of sexual motivation on any basis other than particular 1/Schedule A because no other case was put to the Registrant in cross-examination. The Panel rejects this submission. Having reviewed the transcript, the Panel finds that the Presenting Officer gave the Registrant an opportunity to comment on the HCPC’s case in this regard, while properly and fairly acknowledging the difficulty faced by a witness in the position of the Registrant when the facts of the case are comprehensively denied.


81. The Panel considered that there were three quite distinct stages that had to be considered in relation to particular 11, namely:


• First, to identify what behaviour the HCPC is alleging, and that the Panel has found proven, that is relevant to this particular.


• Secondly, to consider the ambit of the sexual motivation alleged.


• Thirdly, to decide if the HCPC has provided evidence from which the Panel could and should make a finding in relation to any one or more of the students. In this regard, it is noteworthy that Particular 11 does not allege (as it might have done), “your actions were sexually motivated in relation to Student 1 and/or Student 2 and/or Student 3 and/or Student 4”. Rather, by advancing the particular by reference to particulars, some of which relate to more than one student, there would be a risk of an unsound judgement being made by the Panel, and in particular, one that might be unfair to the Registrant. Were the Panel to find that the Registrant had been sexually motivated in behaving in a certain way towards one student, it would not automatically follow that he had the same motivation towards another student or other students, even if his overt acts were similar. At the same time, it is necessary to consider all the relevant proven matters when making this decision because an act that, if taken in isolation, could not possibly justify a finding of sexual motivation could take on a different significance when considered cumulatively with other actions.


82. The particulars of primary fact that are said to have occurred as a result of sexual motivation are particulars 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 10. Of these contentions, the Panel has not found 3B to be proven. Furthermore, it is necessary to consider the contention of sexual motivation by reference to individual students, considering, of course, only the relevant proven particulars. Accordingly, the Registrant’s actions were the following:


• In relation to Student 1:

o all of the specific incidents alleged by Schedule A;

o particular 2 concerning the cessation of anti-depressant medication;

o the whole class actions and words found by particulars 4(B) & (C) and 5(D) & (E);

o the request for and comment about the photograph in particular 4(D) & (E);

o the attempt to drive a wedge between her and Student 2 (particular 4(F) & (G));

o using words such as “soulmate”, “earth mother”, “professional wife”, describing her as “beautiful” and the description of her as “in-house expert on bi-polar” (particulars 5(B), (F), (G) & (H));

o the gift of two books (particular 5(C));

o performing hypnosis without obtaining formal consent (particular 8); and,

o not referring to relevant services when becoming aware of mental or emotional vulnerability (particular 10).


• In relation to Student 2:

o the request that she should send a photograph of herself from a private email address to the Registrant’s private email address (particular 4(A));

o the whole class allegations already referred to;

o the attempt to drive a wedge between her and Student 1 (particulars 4(F) & (G)); and,

o describing her as “soulmate”, “earthmother” and “beautiful” (particulars 5(B) & (G)).


• In relation to Student 3:

o massaging her head (particular 3(A));

o recording the hypnosis session on his telephone (particular 3(C));

o saying words to the effect that he would have liked to have video recorded the hypnosis session because under hypnosis inner beauty comes out (particular 3(D));

o stating words to the effect that she glowed and smiled (particular 3(E)); and,

o the conversation about kidnapping (particular 5(A));


• In relation to Student 4:

o the request that she should send a photograph of herself from a private email address to the Registrant’s private email address (particular 4(A));

o the description of “beautiful” in the informal meetings after lectures (particular 5(G)); and,

o the whole class comments and actions.


83. As to what is meant by “sexual motivation”, in the present case that issue is dictated by the elaboration the HCPC specifically alleged, namely that it is something “done in pursuit of sexual gratification” and/or “in pursuit of a future sexual relationship”. Neither sexual gratification nor sexual relationships are dependent upon, or defined by, sexual intercourse.


84. In deciding whether the inference of sexual motivation should properly be drawn so that it is consistent with burden and standard of proof, the Panel considered whether there was any realistic explanation for the proven behaviour other than that it was sexually motivated. When considered in this manner, the Panel concluded that in relation to Student 1, the overtly sexualised behaviour that was repeated and persisted in, over a lengthy period of time, allows no other explanation than that it was sexually motivated. In relation to Student 2, clearly there were fewer incidents, but the Panel has concluded that the Registrant was sexually motivated towards her, and, having had the opportunity of observing Student 2 give her evidence, the fact that matters did not develop as they did with Student 1 was because she was less receptive to the Registrant’s actions. The same factor explains why the particulars relevant to Student 3 are more limited as Student 3 elected to have no further contact with the Registrant after the visit to his private clinic on 25 May 2016. So far as Student 4 is concerned, the request for the full body photograph to be sent from and to private email addresses, coupled with the description of her as “beautiful” and her attendance at the “Apprentice Club” meetings has resulted in the Panel concluding that sexual motivation is established also in relation to her.


85. The consequence of these findings is that particular 11 is proven.


129. The Panel first considered whether there was jurisdiction to receive further evidence relating to a factual particular which has been the subject of decision by the Panel and included in a determination that has been formally handed down. On behalf of the Registrant it is submitted that there is jurisdiction, and, on behalf of the HCPC, the Presenting Officer has conceded that there is. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor that the Panel should consider that there is jurisdiction on the basis that the stage had not been reached in the instant proceedings that could be equated to the sealing of an order concluding proceedings in a Court, and, therefore, as there is no contrary provision in the rules governing the procedure of this Committee, consistent with the judgement of Lady Hale in Re: L&B (Children) [2013] UKSC 8 at paragraph 16, there is jurisdiction to reconsider the decision already made.

 

130. There being jurisdiction to receive further evidence, it was necessary for the Panel to identify the principles which should be applied in deciding whether to receive it and, accordingly, whether to reconsider its decision on particular 11 in the light of the new evidence.

 

131. The Panel found that there was a discretion to receive the further evidence. The fact that there was a discretion clearly meant that the Panel was not bound to receive it. But at the same time a discretion must be exercised fairly having regard to legitimate and relevant considerations and ensuring overall fairness. As might be expected, the parties contended for different outcomes, but both parties constructed their arguments by reference to the factors identified by Gilbart J. in TZ v GMC [2015] EWHC 1001 Admin at paragraph 99, as being the factors he considered to be relevant in that particular case.

 

132. The Panel first considered the relevance of the new evidence. The view of the Panel is that the proposed evidence would be potentially relevant. However, for the reasons that will be explained below when the Panel considers the significance of the evidence, it would not be determinative of the issue relevant to particular 11.

 

133. The Panel next considered why the evidence had not been called before, and in particular at a time when the Panel heard the evidence relevant to the factual particulars in November 2019. In his witness statement made on 21 October 2020, the Registrant stated this:

 

3. When I prepared my substantive statement for the hearing back in November 2019, I fully expected that the Panel would not find the factual allegations against me proven. As the Panel know, my position remains that I maintain my denial of the allegations.

4. …I thought there was already enough evidence to demonstrate that I had no sexual motivation in relation to the students.

 

134. During his oral evidence in November 2019, the Registrant did not demonstrate any reticence in giving his evidence about personal matters in private sessions of the hearing or more generally when the hearing was in public.

 

135. The Panel recognises that different individuals will, for a variety of reasons, some cultural, find different issues to be shameful. There was nevertheless a significant tactical element to the way in which he advanced his evidence. In other words, having taken the view that he had said quite enough to answer the contention that his behaviour was sexually motivated, he did not think it was ‘necessary’ to say more.

 

136. It is in relation to the significance of the evidence there are several quite distinct considerations, namely:

 

• Throughout his evidence the Registrant was very clear that he had no sexual interest in any of the complainants. In his oral evidence the Registrant clearly stated:

 

‘I have indicated according to the various circumstances. For example, it has been claim that I was sucking her toes; I was putting my thumb in her ears. That is revolting and disgusting. It’s not my behaviour. No creature on this earth, in this life, because she talks of all kinds of life, or paranormal, can accuse me of having done that. I find it – forgive me, yes, I know some people enjoy it. I find it revolting. So that is a lie. But I didn’t want to say that so bluntly but you have put me in that position to say, ‘Okay, you tell me this. Yes, it’s speculative.’ That is a lie. It didn’t happen.’

 

• The Panel has been careful not to step over the line into considering if the Registrant’s evidence would be believed, but has considered if the evidence was believed, what significance it would have.

 

• The finding the Registrant submits should be reconsidered is the finding on particular 11, and only that particular. On behalf of the Registrant, Mr Dunlop was very clear in stating that there were no other factual particulars it is suggested should be reconsidered. The somewhat unusual feature of this situation is that particular 11 was not a finding of primary fact. Rather, it was an inference the Panel decided could properly be drawn (indeed, had to be drawn) from the many proven findings of primary fact to which the contention of sexual motivation applied and its assessment of the Registrant’s evidence. It follows that although the Registrant would now have the Panel decide that sexual motivation was not proven, it is not suggested that the findings of the Panel that the behaviour relevant to particular 11 was repeated, persisted in over a lengthy period of time and of an overtly sexual nature, would be affected.

 

137. So far as the effect the admission of the further evidence would have on the conduct of the hearing, the Panel believes that it would inevitably have the consequence that the conclusion of the case would be pushed back to 2021. There would arguably be time for the Registrant himself to give evidence in the present hearing dates this week, and for the matters that the hearing has been scheduled to consider (misconduct, current impairment of fitness to practice and, potentially, sanction) still to be addressed. However, the availability of the health professional has not been established, and even if he were to be available this week, to allow the health professional to give evidence without the HCPC having an opportunity to seek expert advice and consider whether they would wish to call an expert witness to address the issue, would not be fair. However if fairness demanded admission of the evidence, delay, even significant delay, would be a price that would have to be paid to ensure a fair hearing.

 

138. The Panel has considered this application very carefully. The Panel unhesitatingly accepts that the issue is not one of punishing a party who has failed to produce evidence at the expected stage of the proceedings. To avoid becoming trapped within the considerations that were relevant in other cases, the Panel has asked itself the simple question of what its decision should be to ensure that the present hearing is conducted fairly. Having asked that question the Panel has come to the clear conclusion that the application should be refused. There are two principle reasons for this conclusion. The first is what has already been said about the Registrant’s tactical approach to the information he considered was sufficient for him to disclose in November 2019. That the Panel’s decision means that he miscalculated is not, in the judgment of the Panel, sufficient for him to be permitted a second bite of the cherry. The second is that, were the evidence to be admitted, the Panel would be left to consider a further non-determinative factor advanced by the Registrant that was intended to change the Panel’s decision made in relation to particular 11 in isolation. As has already been stated, that particular is based upon many instances of repeated behaviour for which it has hitherto been decided there could be no other reasonable explanation than sexual motivation. This further, non-determinative factor would be considered in the context of a case in which the Registrant had already comprehensively denied any sexual interest.

 

139. Therefore, the Panel conclude that the application should be refused. The Panel reached this decision being satisfied that it was consistent with the Registrant receiving a fair hearing.

 

Decision on misconduct and impairment of fitness to practise:


140. The Panel handed down its decision on the application to re-open consideration of particular 11 during the late morning of Tuesday 3 November 2020. The decision was handed down in public session (although the full terms of the decision as handed down contained confidential information that will subsequently require redaction for publication). At that time the Registrant was in attendance by video link. The Panel allowed time for the decision to be read and considered, and stated that, after a short adjournment for that purpose, it would hear submissions and receive any evidence it was intended to give on the issues of misconduct and current impairment of fitness to practise. The parties were agreed that the issues of misconduct and impairment of fitness to practise could be considered in one tranche of the hearing, and the Panel agreed that that course was sensible.

 

141. When the public hearing reconvened for the issues of misconduct and impairment of fitness to practise to be dealt with, the Registrant was not present. The Panel was informed that it had been decided that the Registrant would absent himself in accordance with advice that had apparently been tendered by the health professional. The Panel did not, of course, draw any adverse inferences against the Registrant on account of his absence.

 

142. The Panel received oral submissions from the Presenting Officer on behalf of the HCPC and Mr Dunlop on behalf of the Registrant.

 

143. The Presenting Officer submitted that the Panel should find misconduct and also that a finding of current impairment of fitness to practise should be made in respect of both the personal and public components.

 

144. On behalf of the Registrant, Mr Dunlop stated that he would not contend that a finding of misconduct should follow the findings of fact. He submitted that this was a position taken on behalf of the Registrant based upon the findings being taken globally, albeit that it might have been possible to contend that when viewed individually there might have been elements that should not be so characterised. Mr Dunlop did, however, advance a positive submission that, consistent with the view taken by his client, the Panel should not find current impairment of fitness to practise. Mr Dunlop’s submissions on impairment of fitness to practise will be summarised in due course.

 

145. The Panel approached the decisions on misconduct and current impairment of fitness to practise separately and sequentially. Indeed, the latter decision would not arise without a prior finding of misconduct.

 

Misconduct:

146. The starting point of the Panel’s consideration was to review the factual findings that had been proven. In the judgment of the Panel it was appropriate to view the findings globally. It was fair to do so as there was the obvious connection between them that they all related to students between whom there was a connection. Furthermore, the true significance and seriousness could only properly be appreciated by viewing the findings in the round. Some of the individual particulars, if plucked out and viewed in isolation, might be thought to be relatively trivial, but in the opinion of the Panel they were not trivial when viewed in the overall context.

 

147. The Panel reminded itself that the issue of misconduct was to be decided by reference to the standards that were to be expected of the Registrant as a Practitioner Psychologist. Despite the fact that the Registrant’s contact with the students arose as a result of his academic role, the Panel was satisfied that the factual findings were properly to be considered as being potentially misconduct on the part of a Practitioner Psychologist.

 

148. So far as the HCPC’s Standards of conduct, performance and ethics are concerned, it should be recorded that the structure of those standards changed in January 2016. The Panel has carefully considered the wording of the standards both before and after that change, and it has concluded that although the wording and ordering of the standards has changed, there was no change so fundamental that it is necessary for the differences to be closely explained in this determination. Some of the breaches found proven occurred before January 2016, and some after that date. In relation to others, where the date was unspecific, the breach may have been before or after the amendment of the document. Rather than duplicate standards, the Panel considers that it is sufficient if it outlines the responsibilities breached, particularly as it is satisfied that the substance of the requirements are contained in both pre-January 2016 and post-January 2016 versions of the standards document. The breaches were of the requirements:

 

• to act in the best interests of service users (it being appropriate to view the students as “service users” in view of the Registrant’s actions towards them);

 

• to respect confidentiality;

 

• to keep high standards of personal conduct;

 

• to act within the limits of knowledge, skills and experience (breached by advising Student 1 to stop taking prescribed medication);

 

• to communicate properly and effectively;

 

• to get informed consent; and,

 

• to make sure that behaviour does not damage the public’s confidence in either the practitioner or the profession.

 

149. Having considered all relevant matters, the Panel unhesitatingly concluded that the findings were very serious and were of such a character that they should be regarded as misconduct.

 

150. The finding of misconduct had the consequence that the Panel next decided whether the misconduct is currently impairing the Registrant’s fitness to practise.

 

Impairment of fitness to practise:

 

151. In considering the issue of current impairment of fitness to practise, the Panel heeded the advice it received to have regard to the HCPTS Practice Note on the topic and to ensure that in reaching its decision it considered both the personal and public components.

 

152. Before reaching a decision on these issues, the Panel read the documents submitted by the Registrant for the purposes of this decision, including his witness statement dated 8 September 2020 and the supportive testimonials. Included within this information was confirmation that on 8 September 2020 the Registrant undertook an online course on professional boundaries. The Panel also reminded itself of the submissions made by Mr Dunlop. These included the submission that the Panel should not assume that because the Registrant has been found to have behaved inappropriately to the students relevant to this case, he would nevertheless present a risk to service users with whom he might come into contact when practising as a Practitioner Psychologist. It was submitted that for a period the Registrant was able to practise without restriction, and in this period, he worked as a Neuropsychologist, in which work the majority of the service users were female. He reminded the Panel that the events relevant to the present case occurred four years ago and that there had been no complaint made by a service user of the nature raised by the students either before, during his lengthy career, or since the events with which the Panel has been concerned.

 

153. In the view of the Panel, the following factors were particularly relevant to the issue of current impairment of fitness to practise:

 

• The breaches were serious, were directed against a number of students, were repeated and took place over a lengthy period of time.

 

• The Registrant’s behaviour was deliberate, there was no aspect of it that was not intentional.

 

• The matters constituted a breach of trust and occurred when there was a significant power imbalance between the Registrant on the one hand, and the students on the other. Furthermore, Student 1 could properly be regarded as being vulnerable.

 

• There was a clear risk that the students would suffer harm as a result of the breaches. Furthermore, given the Registrant’s professional expertise, the Panel is satisfied that he was aware at the time he committed the breaches that there was such a risk.

 

• There has been no meaningful acceptance of wrongdoing or apology. That was so during the Registrant’s oral evidence in November 2019 and remains the case, as the Panel has been explicitly told that the Registrant has maintained his denial of the matters found against him after the Panel’s decision on the facts was disclosed to him.

 

• The focus of the Registrant’s concerns arising from the case have been on the effect matters have had on him and his immediate family, there having been very little acknowledgement of the consequences of his behaviour for others, and in particular for the students.

 

154. The Presenting Officer invited the Panel to consider whether, conceptually, shortcomings of the nature found against the Registrant are capable of remediation. The Panel does not consider it necessary to decide that issue because, even if they are, they have certainly not been remediated by the Registrant in this particular case. The fundamental reason for the Panel’s view that there has been no remediation is because there has been no acceptance of wrongdoing. In the context of serious, sexually motivated behaviour of the sort found by the Panel in this case, insight and an acceptance of wrongdoing would be a necessary starting point for any attempt at meaningful remediation. The Panel accept that it is difficult for a Registrant who does not accept a panel’s findings to demonstrate remediation, it is important to note that the Panel in no way seek to punish the Registrant for the position he is taking. In the view of the Panel the inevitable consequence of there being no insight or meaningful remediation in this case is that there remains a significant risk of repetition.

 

155. Accordingly, the Panel finds that there is personal component current impairment of fitness to practise.

 

156. The Panel also finds that there is public component current impairment of fitness to practise for the following reasons:

 

• The fact that there is a risk of repetition for the reasons just explained necessarily means that there is a need to protect the public from the risk of harm.

 

• A finding of impairment is required to declare and uphold proper professional standards and to serve as a warning to other professionals that serious departures from the standards required of them will not be overlooked.

 

• Public confidence in Practitioner Psychologists generally would be diminished were restrictions not to be imposed on the Registrant in the light of the very serious findings that have been made.

 

157. The consequence of the Panel’s finding that the Registrant’s current fitness to practise is impaired is that the allegation is well founded and the issue of sanction must be considered.

 

Decision on sanction:

 

158. After the Panel handed down its decisions on misconduct and current impairment of fitness to practise, time was again allowed for those decisions to be read. When the Panel reconvened to receive submissions on sanction, the Registrant remained absent from the hearing.

 

159. On behalf of the HCPC, the Presenting Officer made submissions as to the proper purpose of a sanction and directed the Panel’s attention to certain passages in the HCPC’s Sanctions Policy. In particular, the Presenting Officer referred to various paragraphs under the section headed, “Serious cases” in that document. The Panel will explain its decision in relation to these elements when it explains its decision below. The Presenting Officer also identified factors that he submitted could be considered to be variously aggravating and mitigating. He did not, however, urge the Panel to apply any particular sanction.

 

160. On behalf of the Registrant, Mr Dunlop invited the Panel to have regard to the documents submitted on behalf of the Registrant, including the Registrant’s witness statement dated 8 September 2020 and the testimonial evidence to which reference has already been made. Mr Dunlop submitted that there were nine points to be made of personal mitigation. They were:

 

• The Registrant has had a long career that, save for the present findings, is unblemished.

 

• The absence of complaint included a significant period of approximately 11 months after the period with which the Panel has been concerned, the Registrant was able to practise without restriction, and in that period he worked as a Consultant Neuropsychologist, during which time the majority of his patients were female.

 

• The Registrant has held and continues to hold an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service Certificate, a fact that reflects the absence of concerns by the DBS or the Police that he presents a risk.

 

• The Registrant has enjoyed the support of eminent practitioners who have continued to demonstrate their support after being informed of the factual particulars the Panel had found proven.

 

• There is a national shortage of psychologists, and accordingly there is a public interest in not depriving the public of the services of the Registrant.

 

• There is a public interest in the profession of Practitioner Psychologist not losing the experience of the Registrant.

 

• The Registrant’s HCPC registration has been suspended for a period of over three years, which it was submitted was an oppressively long period of time.

 

• The long period of suspension had had a detrimental effect on the Registrant’s health, and his family, as well as having caused financial harm. It was submitted that this factor is relevant to the risk of repetition.

 

• The Registrant has kept his knowledge and skills up-to-date throughout, even during the period of suspension, and an example of this was his successful HCPC CPD audit and his completion of the professional boundaries online course on 8 September 2020.

 

161. In his submissions Mr Dunlop addressed the categories of “Serious cases” that had been identified by the Presenting Officer in his submissions. He also placed considerable emphasis on the case of Professional Standards Authority v HCPC & Doree [2017] EWCA 319. The Panel will refer further below to the finding Mr Dunlop sought to establish by reference to the Doree decision. Mr Dunlop submitted that an appropriate sanction would be a conditions of practice order. As to appropriate conditions, he suggested a prohibition on treatment of female patients, alternatively a condition restricting professional contact with female patients to online work, and such restrictive conditions to go along side others, such as a condition requiring supervision.

 

162. The Panel accepted the advice it received as to the proper approach to the consideration of sanction. In particular, it accepted that a sanction should not be imposed to punish a registrant against whom a finding has been made. Rather, a sanction should be the least restrictive outcome consistent with the need to protect the public and to maintain a proper degree of confidence in the registered profession and the regulation of it. The first question to be answered is whether any sanction is required. If a sanction is required, then the available sanctions must be considered in an ascending order of seriousness until one is reached that sufficiently addresses the proper sanction considerations just identified. In considering the available sanctions the Panel had regard to the Sanctions Policy, remembering that the document contains guidance and that it is not intended to be applied rigidly.

 

163. The Panel initially identified the mitigating and aggravating factors. In favour of the Registrant was his long unblemished career, including work without complaint after the occurrence of the matters under present consideration. The Panel recognised the fact that he has had the present allegation hanging over him for a very long time, and he has clearly suffered stress as a result. The Panel also took into account the strong support the Registrant has had and still enjoys from distinguished fellow professionals.

 

164. Before turning to the specific categories of “Serious cases” outlined in the Sanctions Policy, the Panel considered that there were a number of factors that could properly be described as aggravating. They are:

 

• his behaviour amounted to a breach of trust;

 

• his actions were directed towards a number of students;

 

• that the breaches constituted a pattern of unacceptable behaviour, due to the number of students involved, the repetition, persistence and the length of time over which the behaviour took place;

 

• there was harm caused to the students, especially those with whom he sought to establish a therapeutic relationship, namely Students 1 and 3, whose confidence in the profession was shaken, and who might therefore not seek assistance when it would be appropriate to do so; and,

 

• there has been no insight shown or apology offered.

 

165. With regard to the categories of “Serious cases” identified in paragraphs 56 to 93 inclusive of the Sanctions Policy, the Panel considered that the following were engaged by the circumstances of the present case:

 

• The Registrant abused his professional position by seeking inappropriate relationships. There was no element of coercion, but the behaviour had predatory elements in certain other respects, in that it sought to exploit the health problems the Registrant perceived Student 1 and Student 3 to be experiencing. Furthermore, it was undertaken with sexual gratification in mind. There was an unequal balance of power between the Registrant on the one hand and the students on the other. Student 1 and Student 3 were both vulnerable, the former to a greater extent than the latter. Indeed, the Registrant sought to exacerbate the vulnerability of Student 1 by persuading her to cease taking anti-depressant medication in favour of the hypnosis he proposed to offer. Furthermore, he sought to increase the vulnerability of Student 1 and Student 2 by seeking to drive a wedge between them.

 

• The Panel finds that the present case is also one which can be properly described as “Sexual misconduct”. It rejects the submission of Mr Dunlop that this case does fall within paragraph 76 of the Sanctions Policy. The fact that that paragraph states that sexual misconduct “can” be directed towards the three categories of persons identified in the concluding three bullet points of that paragraph, does not have the consequence that it cannot apply in a case where the relationships have the more unusual character presented by the facts of this case.

 

166. As stated above, Mr Dunlop placed great reliance on the decision of the Court of Appeal in the Doree case. The Panel unhesitatingly accepts the proposition that it would be wrong to impose a sanction of a type that would be required to protect potential patients or service users if the findings in the instant case did not properly give rise to a risk that such individuals would be placed at risk of harm by the Registrant being permitted to practise without restriction. However, the Panel does not accept the submission of Mr Dunlop that this is a case in which there is no such risk. In the judgment of the Panel, the findings it has made against the Registrant do indeed give rise to a risk to service users and patients of the type typically seen by Practitioner Psychologists. The reasons for this finding are as follows:

 

• It is important to understand that this is not a case of a person being appointed to an academic role in a university who happens coincidentally to be a registered Practitioner Psychologist. When appointed to the role of Academic Coordinator for Counselling, it was a core requirement that the Registrant should be professionally registered and accredited, and there was an additional expectation that he would have current counselling experience as well as evidence of ongoing counselling supervision. This was particularly important due to the nature of the course which involved self-disclosure and self-reflection and the Academic Coordinator for Counselling would have a role in guiding and reviewing this work.

 

• It is, of course, the case that the students were not “service users” or “patients” in the sense in which that term would ordinarily be understood by Practitioner Psychologists in everyday practice. However, from the outset, and even if matters had not gone further, the academic/student relationship was one that should properly be described as “professional”. As the Panel’s findings make clear, matters did indeed go further, particularly with regard to Student 1 and Student 3. In the case of both of those students, the relationship became therapeutic because the Registrant offered them care and treatment. In the view of the Panel the therapeutic relationship with those two students came about as a result of the Registrant exploiting the vulnerabilities he perceived them to have. Further, the Panel’s finding is that this came about so that the Registrant could advance his own, wholly improper, interests. In short, by his own deliberate actions, the Registrant blurred what should have been clear distinctions between students and patients.

 

• So when the Panel asked itself the question whether or not the Panel’s findings in this case mean that the Registrant would pose a risk to “patients” or “service users” of the more usual sort, his actions with regard to the students has provided the clearest possible answer to the question. For the avoidance of doubt, the answer is in the affirmative.

 

167. The Panel concluded its decision on the matters described above, namely the aggravating and mitigating factors, the “Serious cases” guidance in the Sanctions Policy document and the relevance of its findings relating to the particular students and to potential service users and patients. The clear conclusion of the Panel was that this is a case that is far too serious to result in no further action being taken. Indeed, having moved to consider the available sanctions, the Panel also concluded that a caution order would be wholly insufficient to reflect the gravity of the findings.

 

168. The Panel therefore next considered a conditions of practice order. Factors included in the guidance in the Sanctions Policy advises (in paragraph 106), “A conditions of practice order is likely to be appropriate in cases where:

 

• a registrant has insight;

 

• the failure or deficiency is capable of being remedied;

 

• there are no persistent or general failures which would prevent the registrant from remediating;

 

• appropriate, proportionate, realistic and verifiable conditions can be formulated;

 

• the panel is confident that the registrant will comply with the conditions;

 

• a reviewing panel will be able to determine whether or not those conditions have or are being met; and

 

• the registrant does not pose a risk of harm by being in restricted practice.”

 

The guidance goes on in paragraph 107 to state that “Conditions will only be effective in cases where the registrant is genuinely committed to resolving the concerns raised and the panel is confident that they will do so. Therefore, conditions of practice are unlikely to be suitable in cases in which …… there are serious or persistent failings.”

Paragraph 108 of the Sanctions Policy states that it will be less likely that a conditions of practice order will be appropriate in the more serious cases (in the sense addressed by the Panel in paragraph 165 above). Paragraph 109 states, “There may be circumstances in which a panel considers it appropriate to impose a conditions of practice order in the [more serious cases]. However, it should only do so when satisfied that the registrant’s conduct was minor, out of character, capable of remediation and unlikely to be repeated.”


169. The Panel considers that the present case does not meet any of those suggested situations. In particular:

 

• The Registrant has no insight in the sense that he does not accept the serious breaches found by the Panel.

 

• As has already been stated, the Panel does not consider it necessary to decide the question raised by the Presenting Officer whether the failings identified in this case are conceptually capable of being remedied, because, even if they are, there is no prospect of them being remediated in this case because of the Registrant’s failure to accept responsibility for them.

 

• The failures were persistent and general.

 

• In the view of the Panel there are no conditions that would be appropriate in this case given the wide range of professional standards breached and the seriousness of those breaches. The Panel therefore did not accept Mr Dunlop’s suggestion that the risk of improper contact could be removed by preventing the Registrant from treating females or requiring consultations to be conducted online. In the view of the Panel it is self evident that online contact does not preclude improper interactions. A requirement that the Registrant should be professionally supervised would offer scant reassurance that impropriety would not occur given the fact that the Registrant was being supervised by Professor Wang throughout the period covered by the Panel’s findings.

 

• The Panel cannot be confident that the Registrant would comply with any conditions given his failure to acknowledge that what occurred with regard to the students was inappropriate.

 

• There can be no confidence that a reviewing panel would be able to determine whether any conditions imposed have been met because it is in the very nature of a Practitioner Psychologist’s work that their interactions with service users would be conducted in private and would be confidential. For the reason already stated, given what happened when the Registrant was being supervised by Professor Wang, there could be no confidence that compliance could be monitored by reference to reports of a professional supervisor.

 

• The view of the Panel is that the Registrant would pose a risk of harm by being in restricted practice.

 

For reasons that will be clear from what has already been said, this is not a case that would result in a conditions of practice order were the Panel to accept the guidance contained in paragraphs 107 to 109 of the Sanctions Policy.

 

170. Having carefully considered the matter, the Panel came to the conclusion that a conditions of practice order would not be appropriate.

 

171. The Panel therefore next considered a suspension order. In relation to such an order paragraph 121 of the Sanctions Policy states that a suspension order. “…… will typically exhibit the following factors:

 

• the concerns represent a serious breach of the Standards of conduct, performance and ethics;

 

• the registrant has insight;

 

• the issues are unlikely to be repeated; and

 

• there is evidence to suggest the registrant is likely to be able to resolve or remedy their failings.”

 

172. The present case is certainly one that represents a serious breach of the Standards of conduct, performance and ethics. However, that is the only respect in which this case would fit within factors suggested in paragraph 121. There is no insight, the issues are likely to be repeated (not least because there is no insight), and there is no evidence that the Registrant will be likely to be able to resolve or remedy his failings (indeed, he does not acknowledge those failings).

 

173. Having carefully considered whether a suspension order would be appropriate, the Panel has concluded that it would not. This is not because the Panel has slavishly followed the guidance given in paragraph 121 of the Sanctions Policy. The Panel agrees that insight and evidence of an intention to resolve to remedy the failings would be required for a suspension order to be made. The simple reason for this is that without those factors there would be no purpose served by making a suspension order because the position at the end of any period of suspension would be the same as it is at the present time (namely that the risks presented by the Registrant are such that he cannot be allowed to return to practise), which would have the inevitable consequence that an endless series of suspension orders would be required that would achieve no positive purpose. In the judgment of the Panel the public interest would not be served by making a suspension order without at least some expectation that at some future date the registrant restricted from practising would resolve matters to such an extent that it would be safe to allow them to return to practise.

 

174. In rejecting a suspension order as a suitable disposal of the case, the Panel inevitably arrived at the decision that a striking off order is the appropriate sanction to be imposed in this case. It is necessary, however, to state that this is not an outcome to which the Panel has been driven against its better judgment by the exclusion of all other options. The Panel does not find that the facts of this case would necessarily, in all cases, have to result in striking off. Notwithstanding the extremely serious nature of the findings, if this had been a case with acceptance, apology, insight and a genuine intention to resolve matters, it is possible that the outcome would have been different. But for the reasons that have been explained in rejecting a suspension order as suitable, this is not such a case. The Panel is satisfied that in a case as serious as this, where the Registrant’s attitude is as has been as already described by the Panel, the making of a striking off order is the only appropriate sanction. In the particular circumstances of this case it is a proportionate response to the findings made. 

Order

The Registrar is directed to strike the name of Dr Waseem Alladin from the Register on the day this Order comes into effect. 

Notes

This hearing took place over 16 days on 18 - 22 November 2019, 25 - 28 November 2019, 09 September 2020, 23 October 2020 and 02 - 06 November 2020.

 

Right of Appeal

You may appeal to the High Court against the Panel’s decision and the order it has made against you.

Under Article 29(10) of the Health Professions Order 2001, any appeal must be made within 28 days of the date when this notice is served on you. The Panel’s order will not take effect until the appeal period has expired or, if you appeal, until that appeal is disposed of or withdrawn.

 

European Alert Mechanism

In accordance with Regulation 67 of the European Union (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations 2015, the HCPC will inform the competent authorities in all other EEA States that your right to practise has been prohibited.

You may appeal to the County Court against the HCPC’s decision to do so. Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the date when this notice is served on you. This right of appeal is separate from your right to appeal against the decision and order of the Panel.

 

Decision on interim order:

 

1. After the Panel announced its decision that the sanction to be imposed in this case is one of striking-off, the Presenting Officer applied for an interim suspension order to cover the appeal period. He submitted that in the light of the Panel’s findings, such an order is necessary for protection of members of the public and otherwise in the public interest.

 

2. In response to the application, Mr Dunlop on behalf of the Registrant stated that his submission would be predicated on the likelihood that the Panel would make an interim order. That being the case, he submitted that the Panel should consider making an interim conditions of practice order to cover the appeal period, the thrust of that order being the prohibition of contact with female patients. He submitted that, notwithstanding the view of the Panel expressed in relation to its consideration of a substantive conditions of practice order that there could be no confidence that the Registrant would comply with such an order, the fact that he has observed the interim suspension order for the past three years should reassure the Panel that he would comply.

 

3. The Panel accepted that there were a number of elements that it was required to consider in relation to this application, namely:

 

• Whether there is jurisdiction to consider the application.

 

• If there is jurisdiction to consider the application, whether it should be decided in the circumstances, particularly given the absence of the Registrant from the hearing.

 

• If it is appropriate to consider the application, whether an interim order should be made.

 

• If an interim order is required, whether the reasons why it is required could be addressed by the imposition of an interim conditions of practice order.

 

• If an interim order is made, the length of the interim order.

 

4. On the issue of jurisdiction, the Panel was satisfied that the notice of hearing for the present hearing dates sent by email on 2 October 2020 put the Registrant on notice that in the event of a substantive striking off order being made an application for an interim order might be made. The Panel finds that this communication, being sent more than a month ago, afforded the Registrant an opportunity to ensure that representations could be made on his behalf in relation to the application. That being so, the Panel had jurisdiction to consider the matter.

 

5. As the Registrant was represented before the Panel at the time of the application was made, the formal “proceeding in absence” provisions do not apply. As to whether, in a more general sense, it would be fair to consider the application in the absence of the Registrant, the Panel notes that it was not contended by Mr Dunlop that it would be unfair to decide the application in the Registrant’s absence. In the light of the communication in the email sent on 2 October 2020, and the opportunity that had been given to the Registrant to give instructions on the issue, the Panel was satisfied that it was fair to proceed to make a decision on the application.

 

6. The Panel approached the HCPC’s application on the basis that the default position established by the legislation is that after the imposition of a substantive sanction, there will be no restriction on the right to practise until the rights of appeal against the decision leading to the imposition of the sanction have been exhausted.

 

7. In relation to the question whether an interim order is required, the Panel finds:

 

• That for the reasons explained in the substantive decision and which need not be repeated here, the Registrant poses a risk of harm to potential service users and patients with whom he might have professional contact if permitted to practise without restriction.

 

• That fair-minded members of the public would be dismayed were the Registrant to be permitted to practise without restriction following the findings that have been made by the Panel in this case.

 

Accordingly, the Panel is satisfied that an interim order is necessary for protection of members of the public and is otherwise in the public interest.


8. Having decided that an interim order is required, the Panel then considered whether the reasons why it is required could be satisfactorily addressed by interim conditions of practice. The conclusion of the Panel was that they could not, the reasons for that decision being those already explained in the substantive decision why conditions of practice could not be relied upon to reduce to an acceptable level the risk that the Registrant would cause harm to future service users and patients.

 

9. It follows from this that an interim suspension order is required. As to the length of that order, the Panel decided that it should be for the maximum period of 18 months. If the Registrant does not appeal the Panel’s decision and order within the initial 28 day period he has to launch an appeal, the interim order will simply fall away. In those circumstances there will be no continuing disadvantage to the Registrant once the striking off order comes into effect. If, however, the Registrant does launch an appeal, then the view of the Panel is that this interim suspension order should continue until such time as his appeal is finally determined.  

 

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Dr Waseem Alladin

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
18/11/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Struck off