Mr David Lee

Profession: Paramedic

Registration Number: PA38599

Hearing Type: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 01/02/2021 End: 17:00 11/02/2021

Location: This hearing will take place virtually

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: Struck off

Please note that the decision can take up to 5 working days to be uploaded onto the HCPTS website. Please contact one of our Hearings Team Managers via tsteam@hcpts-uk.org or +44 (0)808 164 3084 if you require any further information.

 

Allegation

Allegation 1 (as amended)
Whilst employed as a Paramedic with the Scottish Ambulance Service between 18 February 2015 and 20 November 2017, you:
1. Engaged in inappropriate communication and/or behaviour towards Colleague 1, in that you:
a) told Colleague 1 that she was; “too pretty to do the job”, or words to that effect;
b) told Colleague 1 that she could “ride you”, or words to that effect;
c) asked Colleague 1 if you could see “her *****” or words to that effect;
d) placed your hands on Colleague 1’s hips in the back of the ambulance;
e) asked Colleague 1 if you could touch her “boobs” or words to that effect;
f) unfastened the bra of Colleague 1 through her clothing;
g) took a photograph of Colleague 1’s buttocks whilst she was attending to a patient;
h) put your epaulettes down the top of Colleague 1 while she was driving the ambulance;
I) In or around June 2015, whilst Colleague 1 was driving the ambulance, moved her hand from the gear stick and onto your groin;
j) In or around June 2015, whilst Colleague 1 was in the back of the ambulance you told her; “We could do it really quickly”, or words to that effect;
k) In or around June 2015, whilst Colleague 1 was in the back of the ambulance, exposed your penis to Colleague 1.

2. Engaged in inappropriate communication and behaviour towards Colleague 2, in that you:
a) placed your plastic gloves inside Colleague 2’s jacket;
b) knocked the gear stick out of gear whilst Colleague 2 was driving the ambulance;
c) Unfastened Colleague 2’s seat belt whilst she was driving the ambulance.

3. Engaged in inappropriate communication and/or behaviour towards Colleague 5 on or around, 20 November 2017, in that you:
a) in reference to Colleague 5's tattoo, said; "Was that done after a drunken night on holiday?", or words to that effect;
b) "It's a good job you didn't get a cock drawn on you.", or words to that effect;
c) "Would you be a model?", or words to that effect;
d) "Would you do it for a thousand pounds?", or words to that effect;
e) "would you lick the bandages of a patient or be a model?", or words to that effect.

4. On or around 10 May 2015, engaged in inappropriate communication and or behaviour with Colleague 6, in that you:
a) Put surgical gloves down the neck of Colleague 6’s shirt;
b) Said to Colleague 6: “can I get them [gloves] out [of your shirt]”, or words to that effect;
c) Said to Colleague 6: “can I hold them [breasts]?...can I hold them for 10 seconds...for 5 seconds”, or words to that effect;
d) Put surgical gloves up the sleeve of Colleague 6’s shirt;
e) Unclipped Colleague 6’s seatbelt whilst she was driving an ambulance;
f) Squirted alcohol gel at Colleague 6 whilst she was driving an ambulance;
g) Said to Colleague 6: “You look good” or words to that effect;
h) Said to Colleague 6: “this is what your boobs do to me” whilst gesturing towards your erect penis through your trousers;
i) Asked Colleague 6 to touch your erect penis on more than one occasion whilst you were driving your ambulance;
j) Said to Colleague 6: “just put your hand on it [your penis] for 10 seconds”, or words to that effect;
k) Took hold of Colleague 6’s hand and attempted to guide it on to your erect penis;
l) Exposed your erect penis to Colleague 6 and said to her “this is your last chance [to touch it]” or words to that effect;

5. The matters described at particulars 1, 3a), 3b) and 4 were sexually motivated.

6. Your actions as described in paragraph 1 - 4 constitute misconduct.

7. By reason of your misconduct your fitness to practise as a Paramedic is impaired.

Allegation 2 (as amended)
As a registered Paramedic (PA38599) your fitness to practise is impaired by reason of misconduct. In that:
1. In or around June 2015, you made unprofessional and/or inappropriate statements to Colleague A in that you:
a) Said “Are you wearing a different bra today? Because your tits look bigger” or words to that effect.
b) Said “I can’t wait to work a nightshift with you” or words to that effect.
c) Said “I am not perving on you, but you have missed a belt loop at the back of your trousers” or words to that effect.
d) Told Colleague A “me and my wife have an open relationship” or words to that effect.
e) Said “oh come on, it’s just a bit of fun” or words to that effect.

2. In or around June 2015, you acted in an unprofessional and/or inappropriate manner towards Colleague A in that you:
a) Unbuttoned the epaulettes on Colleague A’s work jacket whilst she was driving an emergency vehicle.
b) Unfastened Colleague A’s seatbelt whilst she was driving an emergency vehicle.
c) Attempted to put gloves down Colleague A’s top whilst she was driving an emergency vehicle.
d) Attempted to put your hand down Colleague A’s top whilst she was driving an emergency vehicle.
e) Whilst in a stationary ambulance with Colleague A, you shut the blinds and attempted to push her against the cupboard of the ambulance.
f) Followed Colleague A to the ambulance blanket store and attempted to grope her.

3. Your conduct in relation to paragraphs 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d 1e and 2c, 2d, 2e, and 2f above were sexually motivated.

4. Your actions as set out in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 above constitute misconduct.

5. By reason of misconduct, your fitness to practise is impaired.

 

Finding

Preliminary matters
1. The case for the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) was presented by Mr Gregg Foxsmith of Kingsley Napley, Solicitors. The Registrant was present and represented by Ms Jennifer McPhee of Thompsons, Solicitors. The Registrant denied the Allegations.

Application to adjourn
2. The Panel considered an application by Ms McPhee to adjourn the proceedings on the grounds that the Registrant was not able to fully participate in the proceedings as he was participating in the hearing from home and his two young children aged 3 and 5 were at home as a result of school and nursery closures.

3. The Panel heard evidence from the Registrant that he did not believe it was appropriate to proceed because of his childcare arrangements and because the nature of the Allegation was such that it would not be appropriate to talk about it when his children were at home. He explained that he had been the primary care giver since Christmas when Scotland entered Tier 4 lockdown and schools and nurseries had shut. He advised that they were given notice that schools would not be opening after Christmas and initially were told that this would be for a week or a week and a half and subsequently were told that schools were due to re-open by February. He explained that they had been unable to arrange any other form of childcare and that their nearest relatives lived almost 100 miles away. He advised that he had contacted the local authority and that he and his wife did not qualify for assistance as his wife was not a key worker and was currently working from home. He advised that his wife had a very responsible job which involved a large number of meetings and that she had been unable to take any time off work due to staffing issues. He also explained that he had been off work since Christmas with stress as a result of the pending hearing.

4. The Registrant also explained that his laptop was very old and that he could not access the platform used for the hearing with his laptop and that his only alternative was to use his phone. He explained that the phone came with headphones which used the same slot as the charger and that the battery would probably only last around an hour and so, he could not use the headphones. He advised that he was concerned that his children would overhear evidence of an inappropriate nature as the house was not sound proofed. He advised that in his view this would severely affect his confidence in representing himself properly as he would be worried about what he was saying and would not be able to concentrate. He advised that he was willing to participate in a virtual hearing and that he wanted to put off the hearing until adequate childcare arrangements were in place and that as far as he knew schools were likely to be back around the Easter holidays, at which time he would be able to attend his solicitor’s office knowing that the children were in the correct setting and that his wife was able to work appropriately.

5. In response to Panel questions, the Registrant advised that he had spoken to his manager at Scottish Ambulance Service about the possibility of using a room at the ambulance station but that his manager had been unable to confirm if it would be private.

6. Mr Foxsmith, on behalf of the HCPC, opposed the application. He advised that the Registrant had been able to engage so far, apart from one interruption, and that the hearing could accommodate both scheduled and unexpected breaks. He took the Panel through the history of the case and advised that this was the third listing of the substantive hearing. He also advised that the Allegation was of some age already as the criminal case had been prioritised. He submitted that five witnesses were scheduled to give evidence this week, that a number of those witnesses were vulnerable and that the Panel should at least hear the HCPC witnesses.

7. The Panel considered the submissions of both parties together with the Registrant’s evidence. The Panel also took account of the Legal Assessor’s advice and had regard to the factors identified in the cases of CPS v Picton (2006) EWHC 1108 and the Re A Children (Remote Hearing: Care and Placement Orders) [2020] EWCA Civ 583. The Panel also had regard to the HCPTS Remote Hearing Guidance. The Panel is aware that the issue of adjournment was first raised with the HCPTS by way of an adjournment application submitted on the evening of Tuesday 26 January 2021 on similar grounds, which application was refused by the Chair on 28 January 2021.

8. The Panel refuses the application. Taking account of the age of the Allegation, which relates to conduct that is said to have taken place between 2014 and 2017, the Panel is of the view that any further delay is likely to cause significant stress to the witnesses and adversely impact on their memory. This is the third listing for the hearing, which has been scheduled for 8 days with five witnesses due to give evidence over the course of the next 4 days, some of whom are vulnerable. The Panel is of the view that a fourth adjournment would be unacceptable to the witnesses. The Panel is also of the view that reasonable adjustments, such as regular breaks, allowing time for the Registrant to instruct his solicitor and varying start times, could be made throughout the hearing to ensure that the Registrant will not be disadvantaged.

9. While the Panel had some sympathy with the Registrant’s situation, it was of the view that he could have been more pro-active to address the issues in terms of improving his technology. The Panel would also suggest that, in the absence of a headset, it would be open to the Registrant to participate by audio means only during the evidence of the HCPC witnesses, thereby avoiding the need for the use of the loudspeaker on his phone.

10. The Panel also agreed that the hearing would adjourn early in the afternoon to allow the Registrant time to make further attempts to secure key worker status thereby enabling his children to attend nursery and school and also to make further efforts with his employers to secure suitable alternative accommodation for the hearing. In the event that these further efforts proved to be unsuccessful, the Panel would consider an adjournment application prior to the Registrant giving evidence.

Application to Amend Allegation 1
11. Mr Foxsmith made an application to amend Particular 5 by deleting “&” and adding “and 4” after the “b)” and amending Particular 6 by deleting “2” and substituting “4”. He advised that the amendment involved re-numbering of the Particulars and that the Registrant had been put on notice of the proposed amendments.  Ms McPhee had no objection to the proposed amendment.

12. The Panel considered the submissions of Mr Foxsmith and Ms McPhee together with the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel agreed to grant the application as it was satisfied that the amendment did not cause any injustice to the Registrant.

Application for Joinder of Allegations
13. Mr Foxsmith advised the Panel that the HCPC had received a further allegation from a witness who was not involved in the present case. He advised that on 16 November 2020 a panel of the Investigating Committee found that there was a case to answer in respect of the undernoted Allegation and that the case had been investigated and was ready for a final hearing: -

As a registered Paramedic (PA38599) your fitness to practise is impaired by reason of misconduct. In that:
1. In or around June 2015, you made unprofessional and/or inappropriate statements to Colleague A in that you:
a) Said “Are you wearing a different bra today? Because your tits look bigger” or words to that effect.
b) Said “I can’t wait to work a nightshift with you” or words to that effect.
c) Said “I am not perving on you, but you have missed a belt loop at the back of your trousers” or words to that effect.
d) Told Colleague A “me and my wife have an open relationship” or words to that effect.
e) Said “oh come on, it’s just a bit of fun” or words to that effect.

2. In or around June 2015, you acted in an unprofessional and/or inappropriate manner towards Colleague A in that you:
a) Unbuttoned the epaulettes on Colleague A’s work jacket whilst she was driving an emergency vehicle.
b) Unfastened Colleague’s seatbelt whilst she was driving an emergency vehicle.
c) Attempted to put gloves down Colleague A’s top whilst she was driving an emergency vehicle.
d) Attempted to put your hand down Colleague A’s top whilst she was driving an emergency vehicle.
e) Whilst in a stationary ambulance with Colleague A, you shut the blinds and attempted to push her against the cupboard of the ambulance.
f) Followed Colleague A to the ambulance blanket store and attempted to grope her.

3. Your conduct in relation to paragraphs 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d 1e and 2c, 2b, 2e, and 2f above were sexually motivated.

4. Your actions as set out in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 above constitute misconduct.

5. By reason of misconduct, your fitness to practise is impaired.

14. Mr Foxsmith invited the Panel to join the two matters and submitted that the Allegations were strikingly similar in their facts and temporally proximate. He advised that the Registrant and his representative were on notice and had been consulted on the application, which was not opposed. Mr Foxsmith advised that, should the Panel accede to the application, it was envisaged that the current listing would be sufficient to accommodate both sets of Allegations.
15. Ms McPhee confirmed that the Registrant did not oppose the application and that the application was in the interest of expediency and that it was also in the Registrant’s interests as he would not have to go through the same process twice.

16.  The Panel considered Mr Foxsmith’s application, Ms McPhee’s submissions and the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel agreed to grant the application as the Allegations were of a similar character and it was satisfied that it was in the interests of justice as a whole, including the Registrant’s interests, to consider both matters together.

Application for Special Measures
17.  The Panel next considered Mr Foxsmith’s application for special measures in respect of Colleagues 1, 5, 6 and A, all of whom were complainants. Mr Foxsmith asked the Panel to direct that the Registrant turn off his camera for the duration of their evidence as the witnesses would feel more comfortable and would provide better evidence in those circumstances. Ms McPhee advised that the application was unopposed as it would have minimal impact on the Registrant.

18. The Panel considered Mr Foxsmith’s application, Ms McPhee’s response and the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel noted that these witnesses are complainants of allegations of a sexual nature and agreed that they should be treated as vulnerable witnesses in terms of rule 10A (1) of the Conduct and Competence Committee (Procedure) Rules 2003. The Panel agreed to grant the application as it was satisfied that it would give the witnesses the opportunity to present their best evidence, if they were provided with a virtual screen for the duration of their evidence.

19. The Panel also agreed to Colleague A’s request to have her partner present in the room with her as support during her cross-examination as again the Panel was of the view that, as a vulnerable witness, this would give her the opportunity to provide her best evidence.
Application for late submission of documents
20. The Panel considered Ms McPhee’s application for late submission of documents on behalf of the Registrant. Ms McPhee advised that the documents consisted of a reflective statement, CPD records and a character reference and that they were not controversial. Mr Foxsmith advised that he had had sight of the documents and that he had no objection. Having considered the submissions and the advice of the Legal Assessor the Panel agreed to grant the application.

Application to consider facts separately
21. The Panel considered Ms McPhee’s application to consider the facts of the case separately and to provide a written determination on the facts prior to considering the second stage, if the Panel reached that stage. Mr Foxsmith did not oppose the application. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and agreed to grant the application.

Application to Amend Allegation 2
22. The Panel considered Mr Foxsmith’s application to amend Particular 3 by deleting “2b” and substituting “2d” as this was a typographical error. Ms McPhee did not oppose the application. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and agreed to grant the application to correct the typographical error as it did not cause any injustice to the Registrant.

Application to Amend the Stem of Particular 1 of Allegation 1
23. In the course of Panel questions, the Registrant stated that he qualified as a Paramedic in February 2015. At the close of the Registrant’s case, the Panel highlighted an error in the stem of Particular 1 of Allegation 1. It was noted that although the dates were correct in the individual Particulars, the date in the stem pre-dated the date the Registrant first joined the HCPC Register and did not encompass the time frame for all of the Particulars. The parties agreed to the amendment to delete “01 July 2014” and substitute “18 February 2015” (the date on which the Registrant was admitted to the HCPC Register) and to delete “26 August 2015” and substitute “20 November 2017” as no prejudice would be caused by these amendments.
 
24. Following these amendments, Mr Foxsmith advised the Panel that he had reviewed the evidence and in the light of the amendments, he was no longer making submissions in support of Particulars 1(a) to 1(h) and 2(a) to 2(c). Ms McPhee supported his position. It was agreed by both Mr Foxsmith and Ms McPhee that the as a professional panel, the Panel could and would disregard all the evidence in relation to Particulars 1(a) to 1(h) and 2(a) to 2(c).  

Background
25. The Registrant was employed by the Scottish Ambulance Service from 26 January 2009. He was first engaged as an ambulance technician and, on qualifying, registered with the HCPC as a Paramedic on 18 February 2015. At that time, he was based at the Aberdeen Ambulance Station. In 2015, a number of allegations were made against the Registrant relating to inappropriate behaviour towards several female colleagues. In August 2015, DC, a business support manager, was appointed as Investigating Officer and the Registrant was suspended on 21 August 2015. The Registrant self-referred to the HCPC on 21 September 2015. Complaints were also made to Police Scotland who requested that the Scottish Ambulance Service cease their investigation, pending the outcome of the police investigation. On 6 October 2016, following a five-day trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court, the Registrant was found not guilty of two offences. Thirteen other offences were found to be not proven.

26. In October 2016, the Scottish Ambulance reinstated its investigation and LK, Business Support Manager, was appointed as Investigating Officer. Following a disciplinary hearing, the Registrant’s suspension was lifted, and he was transferred to Peterhead Ambulance Station. On 28 November 2017, the Registrant was again suspended following an allegation of inappropriate comments and behaviour towards Colleague 5. A disciplinary hearing was subsequently held and the Registrant’s suspension was lifted.

27. In 2019, the HCPC received an additional referral which was submitted by a colleague of Colleague A. Colleague A is a Paramedic employed by the Scottish Ambulance Service who was not involved in the matters contained within the first Allegation.

Decision on Facts
28. The Panel heard live evidence from five witnesses on behalf of the HCPC: LK, Business Support Manager, Colleague 1, a Paramedic, Colleague 5, an Ambulance Technician, Colleague 6, a Paramedic and Colleague A, a Paramedic, all of whom were employed by the Scottish Ambulance Service at the material time. The Panel also heard evidence from the Registrant.

29. The Panel found LK to be a credible witness who did her best to assist the Panel. She was an experienced and independent investigating officer who had conducted a thorough investigation on behalf of the Trust and who exhibited documentary evidence, including records of interviews she had conducted in the course of her investigation.

30. The Panel found Colleague 1 to be a very credible and reliable witness whose oral evidence was clear, despite being emotional at times when giving evidence. The Panel was of the view that she did her best to provide an accurate account of events. The Panel accepted her explanation that she did not raise these issues with her employers at the time as she was working primarily with men and felt like she had to prove herself. She said she did not want to make a fuss. While the Panel accepts that with the passage of time, there may be some differences in the statements given to different people over a prolonged period of time, the Panel found that her evidence was largely consistent with the statements she provided in 2015 and 2016 for the police investigation and the disciplinary investigation.

31. The Panel found Colleague 5 to be a credible witness who provided detailed and reflective responses to questions. She accepted that following the shift on 20 November 2017, she looked at court reports online as she was aware that the Registrant had appeared in court in relation to inappropriate conduct towards other female staff. However. the Panel is of the view that while this may have affected her reaction to the Registrant’s alleged conduct, it did not influence her evidence of the facts and she has remained largely consistent in her statements for the internal Trust investigation, her statement to the HCPC and her oral evidence. In addition, she completed a mind map on 23 November 2017, a copy of which has been produced for the Panel, which supports her evidence.

32. The Panel found Colleague 6 to be a credible witness who provided clear evidence to the Panel and who was robust in her responses. Her evidence was largely consistent, from her initial email to the Area Service Manager on 21 August 2015, her statement dated 26 October 2016 for the internal Trust investigation and her statement to the police dated 25 August 2015. In addition, Colleague 6’s account of the vehicle stopping is supported by other documentary evidence in the form of the Automatic Vehicle Location System (“AVLS”) report produced by LK. It has been highlighted that the three statements have different dates of the alleged incident. However, Colleague 6 explained that she knew she had made an error in respect of the date as she had used a new online roster system and that she had clarified the date in her HCPC statement. The Panel is of the view that this is not material and the witness provided an explanation for this. The Panel found her to be a credible and reliable witness.

33. The Panel found Colleague A to be an open person who was willing to engage and who answered questions thoughtfully. Ms McPhee challenged the witness robustly on the differences between the statement she had provided to Police Scotland on 21 September 2015 and the statement she provided to the HCPC on 16 January 2021 and in particular the additional information in respect of the more serious matters alleged in Particulars 1(e) and 1(f) which were not included in her police statement and which mirrored allegations made by a colleague. Colleague A explained to the Panel that she did not have a copy of her police statement when she provided the HCPC with a statement. She also explained that on 21 September 2015 she attended the police station to provide a statement in connection with another matter and while there, she was asked about the Registrant and assumed that her employers had given her name to the police. She told the Panel that she left things out of her police statement as she was worried that the matter would be taken “out of her hands”. The Panel found that her explanation of not wanting to become involved in the police process was a plausible one which withstood rigorous cross-examination. The Panel therefore found her to be a credible and reliable witness.

34. The Panel found the Registrant was very measured in his evidence. The Panel found that he was not entirely open in some of his answers and did not always answer questions directly. He consistently maintained his account throughout his evidence. His position was that the allegations were false and the witnesses had colluded or “jumped on the bandwagon” and that he was the victim of a “witch hunt” as it was common knowledge that he had had sexual relationships with numerous female colleagues. He told the Panel that he had been in a sexual relationship with Colleague 1, a matter that was denied by Colleague 1, and told the Panel that there were witnesses who could confirm this relationship and photographs from nights out which would support his position. However, the Registrant did not bring any witnesses or photographs to the hearing. He stated that it was witnessed by others, one of whom was “ex police” and whom he had previously asked to support him. He said that witness did not want to get involved. He also advised that his criminal lawyer had the photographs and he did not want the expense of contacting his criminal lawyer to obtain them.

35.  The Panel has considered the Registrant’s position that there had been collusion between witnesses. The Panel had regard to the manner in which these matters have been raised by the complainants. Colleague 6 did not raise the issue herself. She was contacted by an area service manager who had been made aware of the issues by another male staff member.  Colleague 1 raised her concerns with her area service manager following the Registrant’s first suspension but was advised to report matters directly to the police. Colleague A was contacted by the police. Colleague 5 raised her concerns directly and contemporaneously with her line manager in November 2017. In the Panel’s view the circumstances in which the complainants individually raised concerns, in some cases reluctantly, do not support collusion. Having had the opportunity to observe the demeanour of the witnesses, the Panel has found them to be credible and reliable, whereas the Registrant was at times evasive. In addition, the Panel does not find his explanation for failing to bring witnesses and photographs to support his version of events plausible. The Panel did not find the Registrant to be a credible witness.   

Allegation 1
Particular 1(i) – found proved
36. Colleague 1 gave evidence that when she was on a shift with the Registrant, she was driving the ambulance, transporting a patient and a midwife from Aberdeen to Kirkcaldy Hospital and that they were both in the front of the ambulance. Her evidence was that she was driving along a dual carriageway with one hand on the gearstick and the other on the steering wheel when the Registrant grabbed her hand and placed it on his groin. She told the Panel that his penis was erect at the time and that she moved her hand away immediately. She stated that the Registrant giggled and said something like, “this is what you do to me”. She told the Panel that she was absolutely disgusted by his behaviour and that his actions were so dangerous as she was driving along a dual carriageway doing approximately 60 mph, and with a pregnant patient and midwife in the back of the ambulance.

37. The Registrant gave evidence that he would never do something like that in the workplace and that it would be completely inappropriate. His evidence was that their behaviour was flirtatious at work but it never crossed the line into physical in the work place. He also stated that had they not been in a relationship, it would be completely unacceptable for anyone.

38. The Panel has found Colleague 1 to be a credible and reliable witness. Where Colleague 1’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague 1. The Panel has had regard to her police statement, which was given on 28 August 2015, her investigatory interview with LK dated 9 November 2016, her witness statement to the HCPC dated 31 January 2019 and her oral evidence to the Panel. On each of these occasions, she has provided a consistent account of the Registrant moving her hand from the gearstick to his groin. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this behaviour towards a colleague in the course of a shift was clearly inappropriate.

Particular 1(j) – found proved
39. Colleague 1 gave evidence that on the day of the incident, having exposed his penis as alleged in Particular 1(k), the Registrant said something along the lines of “we could quickly do it”. She told the Panel that she said to him he had five seconds to put it away and that as soon as he did this, she got out of the back of the ambulance and into the driver’s seat. She stated that she was so uncomfortable having her senior colleague indecently expose himself to her whilst at work. It is not what she would expect and that she felt angry and upset by his actions.

40. The Registrant gave evidence that it seemed absurd to him that this could be an allegation as they were in a relationship outside of work and that it never crossed into that while at work and that vehicles were tracked in a public place. His evidence was that he could not see how he thought that possible but it may have been an ill-advised joke although he could not remember saying that specifically.

41. The Panel has found Colleague 1 to be a credible and reliable witness.  Where Colleague 1’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague 1. The Panel has had regard to her police statement, which was given on 28 August 2015, her investigatory interview with LK dated 9 November 2016, her statement to the HCPC dated 31 January 2019 and her oral evidence to the Panel. On each of these occasions, she has provided a consistent account of the Registrant making the comment “we could do it really quickly”. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this comment towards a colleague in the course of a shift was clearly inappropriate.

Particular 1(k) – found proved
42. Colleague 1 gave evidence that having dropped the pregnant woman and the midwife off at Kirkcaldy Hospital, they had stopped at McDonald’s for some food and that she took her food into the back of the ambulance to eat. Her evidence was that the Registrant did not buy anything to eat, but he got in the back of the ambulance with her. She told the Panel that he unzipped the fly of his trousers and pulled his penis out.

43. The Registrant’s evidence was that nothing unprofessional like this ever happened while at work and as they were in a relationship outside of work, there was no need for anything like that at work. He stated that he felt he was the victim of a witch hunt. He told the Panel that a lot of the people he was involved with were good friends and that he was spoken to a few times by females asking about the relationships he was having and they were not pleased and felt they were being cheated on and they were not too happy they were not the only one.

44. The Panel has found Colleague 1 to be a credible and reliable witness.  Where Colleague 1’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague 1. The Panel has had regard to her police statement which was given on 28 August 2015, her investigatory interview with LK dated 9 November 2016 and her oral evidence to the Panel. On each of these occasions, she has provided a consistent account of the Registrant exposing his penis to her in the back of the ambulance. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this behaviour towards a colleague in the course of a shift was clearly inappropriate.

Particulars 3(a) and 3(b) – found proved
45. Colleague 5 gave evidence that on 20 November 2017, she worked a day shift which was her first shift with the Registrant. Her evidence was that she had a tattoo on her wrist and that when she was driving the ambulance back from Aberdeen to Peterhead station, the Registrant said something along the lines of, "was that [my tattoo] done after a drunken night on holiday?....it's a good job you didn't get a cock drawn on you." She told the Panel that she thought this was a strange comment for him to make although she did not think anything else of it.

46. The Registrant gave evidence that he did not remember specifically asking Colleague 5 about her tattoo but he knew it was a topic of conversation amongst colleagues and he might have discussed a programme where people had tattoos changed. He stated that given her tattoo was discussed in a very different context among colleagues, he did not believe there would have been any negative intent. In respect of Particular 3(b), he gave evidence that he did not recall saying that and that it was not the type of language he would use. He told the Panel that, having been moved to Peterhead following the court case and disciplinary proceedings, he was already highly aware of using that type of language, given what had happened in the past.  

47. The Panel has found Colleague 5 to be a credible and reliable witness.  Where colleague 5’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague 5. The Panel has had regard to the record of her meeting with JM which took place on 24 November 2017, her investigatory interview dated 16 December 2017, the mind map which she completed on 23 November 2017, her HCPC statement dated 4 February 2019 and her oral evidence to the Panel. On each of these occasions, she has provided a consistent account of the Registrant making the comments “Was that done after a drunken night on holiday” and “It’s a good job you didn’t get a cock drawn on you”. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of these Particulars proved. The Panel also considers that these comments towards a colleague in the course of a shift was clearly inappropriate.

Particular 3(c) – found proved
48. Colleague 5 gave evidence that when they were driving back to the station on the same shift, they were discussing that she liked art and painting and the Registrant subsequently talked about someone in his family doing 'life' (nude) painting classes. Her evidence was that he persistently asked her if she would be a 'life' model and that she said no and thought it was a strange comment for him to have made.

49. The Registrant gave evidence that from what he remembered Colleague 5 mentioned her interest in art and in an attempt to make conversation, he mentioned in conversation that his father-in-law was interested in art and in terms of how the human form was the hardest to master. He stated that he would certainly not make or start any conversation that would open him up to allegations.

50. The Panel has found Colleague 5 to be a credible and reliable witness.  Where Colleague 5’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague 5. The Panel has had regard to the record of her meeting with JM which took place on 24 November 2017, her investigatory interview dated 16 December 2017, the mind map which she completed on 23 November 2017, her HCPC statement dated 4 February 2019 and her oral evidence to the Panel. On each of these occasions, she has provided a consistent account of the Registrant making the comment “Would you be a model”. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this comment towards a colleague in the course of a shift was clearly inappropriate.

Particular 3(d) – found proved
51. Colleague 5 gave evidence that the Registrant kept going on about being a life model and mentioned it four times. Her evidence was that she said no each time and that he asked her if she would be a life model for £1000. She said that the Registrant's comments made her feel uncomfortable and he would not drop the questions about her being a life model.

52.  The Registrant gave evidence that this is not something he had said. He stated that these types of conversations were common in the ambulance station but it was not a common conversation for him to have as he would not risk any conversation that would open him up to allegations.

53. The Panel has found Colleague 5 to be a credible and reliable witness.  Where colleague 5’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague 5. The Panel has had regard to the record of her meeting with JM which took place on 24 November 2017, her investigatory interview dated 16 December 2017, the mind map which she completed on 23 November 2017, her HCPC statement dated 4 February 2019 and her oral evidence to the Panel. On each of these occasions, she has provided a consistent account of the Registrant making the comment “Would you do it for a thousand pounds”. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this comment towards a colleague in the course of a shift was clearly inappropriate.

Particular 3(e) – found proved
54. Colleague 5 gave evidence that earlier in the same day, they had attended on a patient who had soiled bandages that needed to be changed. She told that Panel that the Registrant asked her something like, "would you rather be a life model or lick the bandages?". She said that she responded that she would rather lick the bandages, as she did not want to go down the road where the model conversation would keep coming up.

55. The Registrant gave evidence that he would certainly not disrespect a patient in this way and that he tried to be as professional as possible and respectful to patients. He stated that while he may in the past have made such a comment as a joke, he just thought that he was so much more aware in 2017 that he would not risk such a careless comment. He told the Panel that staff would have been aware of his court case and that he had heard from friends that female staff started a petition saying they wouldn’t work with him and he knew his conduct was under scrutiny.

56. The Panel has found Colleague 5 to be a credible and reliable witness.  Where colleague 5’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague 5. The Panel has had regard to the record of her meeting with JM which took place on 24 November 2017, her investigatory interview dated 16 December 2017, the mind map which she completed on 23 November 2017, her HCPC statement dated 4 February 2019 and her oral evidence to the Panel. On each of these occasions, she has provided a consistent account of the Registrant making the comment “Would you lick the bandages of a patient or be a model”. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this comment towards a colleague in the course of a shift was clearly inappropriate.

Particular 4(a) – found proved
57. Colleague 6 gave evidence that was she was a student technician and had been working at Aberdeen station since 4 May 2015. She told the Panel that she was on shift with the Registrant on 10 May 2015 from 3pm to 1am the following morning and that she was driving the ambulance at the beginning of the shift. Her evidence was that from the outset, the Registrant acted in a flirty manner towards her and that he kept getting sterile gloves out of the box between the passenger and driver's seat and throwing them at her and he then tried to put some of the gloves down the neck of her shirt and in her sleeves. 

58. The Registrant stated that Colleague 6 was friendly and that they quickly established a jokey and flirtatious relationship and some of the jokes involved gloves. He stated that he had never done anything intimate and had certainly never put gloves down her shirt. He stated that he possibly put gloves under her epaulettes as that was common practice among the group.

59. The Panel has found Colleague 6 to be a credible and reliable witness. Where Colleague 6’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague 6. The Panel has had regard to her email to EM dated 21 August 2015, her investigatory interview dated 26 October 2016, her police statement dated 25 August 2015, her HCPC statement dated 6 April 2019 and her oral evidence to the Panel. The Panel has noted that the statements have different dates of the alleged incident and accepts Colleague 6’s explanation that she made an error in respect of the date as she had used a new online roster system and that she had clarified the date in her HCPC statement in which she confirms the date as 10 May 2015. This date is supported by the AVLS printout. Other than the date, Colleague 6 has provided a consistent account of the Registrant putting surgical gloves down her shirt. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this behaviour towards a colleague in the course of a shift was clearly inappropriate.

Particular 4(b) – found proved
60. Colleague 6 gave evidence that on the last job of the shift the Registrant was still putting gloves up her sleeve and down her shirt. Her evidence was that she was so exhausted by this point, she just left them there. She stated that she was wearing a white t-shirt underneath her work shirt and the Registrant pulled the neck of her t-shirt and put some gloves down it towards her bra. She told the Panel the Registrant said something along the lines of: "can I get them [gloves] out?" and she said: "no".

61. The Registrant gave evidence that obviously if he hadn’t put the gloves down Colleague 6’s shirt, he wouldn’t be asking to take them out. He stated that he couldn’t think where that allegation would have come from.

62. The Panel has found Colleague 6 to be a credible and reliable witness. Where Colleague 6’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague 6. The Panel has had regard to her email to EM dated 21 August 2015, her investigatory interview dated 26 October 2016, her police statement dated 25 August 2015, her HCPC statement dated 6 April 2019 and her oral evidence to the Panel. Other than the discrepancy with the date, Colleague 6 has provided a consistent account of the Registrant saying “can I get the [gloves] out [of your shirt]”. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this comment towards a colleague in the course of a shift was clearly inappropriate.

Particular 4(c) - found proved
63. Colleague 6 gave evidence that after asking if he could get the gloves out of her shirt, the Registrant then asked her something along the lines of: "can I hold your breasts?" and she said: "no". She stated that he went on to ask again saying: "can I hold them [my breasts] for 10 seconds?...for 5 seconds?..." and she kept telling him no.

64. The Registrant gave evidence that this certainly never happened to the best of his recollection and that it was not that kind of relationship. His evidence was that he had lots of other sexual relationships going on at that time and that he didn’t need to ask that.

65. The Panel has found Colleague 6 to be a credible and reliable witness. Where Colleague 6’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague 6. The Panel has had regard to her investigatory interview dated 26 October 2016, her police statement dated 25 August 2015, her HCPC statement dated 6 April 2019 and her oral evidence to the Panel. Other than the date, Colleague 6 has provided a consistent account of the Registrant saying “can I hold your [breasts]?... can I hold them for 10 seconds… for 5 seconds”. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this comment towards a colleague in the course of a shift was clearly inappropriate.

Particular 4(d) – found proved
66. Colleague 6 gave evidence that in the course of the same shift, the Registrant also put the gloves up the sleeve of her shirt. She told the Panel that she tended to laugh when she was nervous or uncomfortable and so this was how she reacted.

67.  The Registrant gave evidence that in his memory, he placed gloves under Colleague 6’s epaulettes or threw gloves but never put gloves under Colleague 6’s clothing.

68. The Panel has found Colleague 6 to be a credible and reliable witness. Where Colleague 6’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague 6. The Panel has had regard to her investigatory interview with LK dated 26 October 2016, her email to EM dated 21 August 2015, her police statement dated 25 August 2015, her HCPC statement dated 6 April 2019 and her oral evidence to the Panel. Other than the date, Colleague 6 has provided a consistent account of the Registrant putting surgical gloves up the sleeve of her shirt. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this behaviour towards a colleague in the course of a shift was clearly inappropriate.

Particular 4(e) – found proved
69. Colleague 6 gave evidence that on the same shift, the Registrant unclipped her seatbelt when she was driving the ambulance on several occasions. She told the Panel that he seemed to think it was funny and that she kept telling him to stop it, but he ignored her.

70. The Registrant gave evidence that he never unclipped a seatbelt in a moving vehicle or on a public road as that would have been a risk to himself, colleagues and other road users. He stated that he could not remember specifically unclipping Colleague 6’s seatbelt at the ambulance station but it was likely he did as it was common behaviour at the time.

71. The Panel has found Colleague 6 to be a credible and reliable witness. Where Colleague 6’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague 6. The Panel has had regard to her email to EM dated 21 August 2015, her police statement dated 25 August 2015, her HCPC statement dated 6 April 2019 and her oral evidence to the Panel. Other than the date, Colleague 6 has provided a consistent account of the Registrant unclipping her seatbelt whilst she was driving the ambulance. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this behaviour towards a colleague in the course of a shift was clearly inappropriate.
Particular 4(f) – found proved
72. Colleague 6 gave evidence that on the same shift there was some alcohol gel in the ambulance and the Registrant kept squirting it at her. Her evidence was that she did it back to him a few times, although she was doing it through gritted teeth. She stated that the Registrant laughed at this which frustrated her and that she found it distracting when she was driving.

73. The Registrant gave evidence that squirting alcohol gel was a common joke around the station and that people would chase each other in the station as a bit of light relief. He stated that he would never do this in a moving vehicle for the same reason he would never unclip a seatbelt in a moving vehicle.

74. The Panel has found Colleague 6 to be a credible and reliable witness. Where Colleague 6’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague 6. The Panel has had regard to her police statement dated 25 August 2015, her HCPC statement dated 6 April 2019 and her oral evidence to the Panel. Other than the date, Colleague 6 has provided a consistent account of the Registrant squirting alcohol gel at her whilst she was driving the ambulance. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this behaviour towards a colleague whilst she was driving the ambulance in the course of a shift was clearly inappropriate.

Particular 4(g) – found proved
75.  Colleague 6 gave evidence that on the last job of the same shift they had to pick a patient up from Banchory which is just outside of Aberdeen and that the Registrant was driving the ambulance at this point. She stated that on the way there, they were driving along a country road and the Registrant kept giving her compliments, telling her she looked good.

76. The Registrant gave evidence that the only time he came close to that was when Colleague 6 was almost seeking reassurance about her appearance as she said her boyfriend had commented that she was gaining weight. He stated that it was possible that he may have provided reassurance and that he had a friendly relationship with Colleague 6 and not a physical relationship.

77. The Panel has found Colleague 6 to be a credible and reliable witness. Where Colleague 6’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague 6. The Panel has had regard to her HCPC statement dated 6 April 2019 and her oral evidence to the Panel. She has provided a consistent account of the Registrant saying to her “You look good”. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this comment towards a colleague in the course of a shift was clearly inappropriate.

Particular 4(h) - found proved
78.   Colleague 6 gave evidence that on the way to Banchory, the Registrant was driving artificially slowly and that he said something to her along the lines of: "this is what your boobs do to me" whilst gesturing to his penis. She stated that he had an erection that she could see through his trousers.

79. The Registrant stated that this did not happen and that it was a lie.

80. The Panel has found Colleague 6 to be a credible and reliable witness. Where Colleague 6’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague 6. The Panel has had regard to her email to EM dated 21 August 2015, her police statement dated 25 August 2015, her HCPC statement dated 6 April 2019 and her oral evidence to the Panel. Other than the date, Colleague 6 has provided a consistent account of the Registrant making the comment “this is what your boobs do to me” while gesturing towards his erect penis. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this comment and behaviour towards a colleague in the course of a shift was clearly inappropriate.

Particular 4(i) – found proved
81. Colleague 6 gave evidence that while in the ambulance on the way to Banchory, the Registrant asked her to touch his penis several times and she said no each time.

82.  The Registrant gave evidence that he was not in the habit of asking people for physical contact. He stated that he had plenty of relationships going on at the time as well as being married.

83. The Panel has found Colleague 6 to be a credible and reliable witness. Where Colleague 6’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague 6. The Panel has had regard to her email to EM dated 21 August 2015, her investigatory interview with LK dated 26 October 2016, her police statement dated 25 August 2015, her HCPC statement dated 6 April 2019 and her oral evidence to the Panel. Other than the date, Colleague 6 has provided a consistent account of the Registrant asking her to touch his penis on more than one occasion when she was driving the ambulance. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this comment and behaviour towards a colleague whilst she was driving the ambulance in the course of a shift was clearly inappropriate.

Particular 4(j) – found proved
84. Colleague 6 gave evidence that while in the ambulance on the way to Banchory, the Registrant said something to her like: “Just put your hand on it [his penis] for 10 seconds”. She said that she kept refusing and he said he would leave her alone if she did touch his penis.

85. The Registrant stated that he could not really see how Colleague 6’s evidence that he was driving intentionally slow could be justified. He stated that with reference to the tracking data supplied to the internal investigation, looking at the times and distances involved, it was 28 minutes to the patient’s address and 36 minutes to the hospital. He stated that taking account of the type of road which was a dark country road with wildlife on it, he was just a careful and consistent driver.

86. The Panel has found Colleague 6 to be a credible and reliable witness. Where Colleague 6’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague 6. The Panel has had regard to her police statement dated 25 August 2015, her HCPC statement dated 6 April 2019 and her oral evidence to the Panel. Other than the date, Colleague 6 has provided a consistent account of the Registrant asking her to put her hand on his penis for 10 seconds. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this comment and behaviour towards a colleague in the course of a shift was clearly inappropriate.

Particular 4(k) – found proved
87. Colleague 6 gave evidence that that while in the ambulance on the way to Banchory the Registrant kept trying to take her hand and guide it on to his penis. Her evidence was that she allowed him to take her hand and that he put it on the tip of his penis through his trousers. She stated that she realised what he was doing and snatched her hand away. She said she snapped at him and told him to leave her alone.

88.  The Registrant gave evidence that he would not have been able to guide Colleague 6’s hand onto his penis while driving. He stated that he was always a careful driver and that he had never been convicted of a driving offence or caught speeding. His evidence was that he had no need for that kind of behaviour which would be completely unprofessional and inappropriate. He told the Panel that he was already involved in lots of relationships and unfortunately his ego enjoyed it. He stated that he would not delay getting to a patient or put a patient at risk.

89. The Panel has found Colleague 6 to be a credible and reliable witness. Where Colleague 6’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague 6. The Panel has had regard to her email to EM dated 21 August 2015, her police statement dated 25 August 2015, her HCPC statement dated 6 April 2019 and her oral evidence to the Panel. Other than the date, Colleague 6 has provided a consistent account of the Registrant taking hold of her hand and attempting to guide it on to his erect penis. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this behaviour towards a colleague in the course of a shift was clearly inappropriate.

Particular 4(l) – found proved
90. Colleague 6 gave evidence that the Registrant said several times that he felt uncomfortable because he had an erection and he might need to take it out of his trousers and she said “no way”. Her evidence was that he did take his penis out of his trousers. She told the Panel that she looked away and out of the passenger window and because it was dark outside, the Registrant could see her reflection in the window and she could see he had taken his penis out of his trousers. She stated that she held her hand up to the window to block her view and that the Registrant realised what she was doing and started to laugh as he seemed to think it was hilarious. She told the Panel that he pulled the ambulance over the side of the road and said something like: "this is your last chance" - implying it was her last chance to touch his penis. She said that she told him no and he put his penis back inside his trousers.

91. The Registrant told the Panel that it just wasn’t necessary as he had plenty of relationships going on. He told the Panel that it did not make sense to him as he was on the way to a job and that surely it would have been better to do it in private. He stated that as well as being in the middle of a town, there was no way that the behaviour would go unnoticed in a public place. His evidence was that the allegation of stopping the ambulance was absolutely absurd given the location, in the middle of a well-lit street. He stated that stopping the ambulance could have been for a number of reasons, primarily how to get to a particular property they were not familiar with.

92. The Panel has found Colleague 6 to be a credible and reliable witness. Where Colleague 6’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague 6. The Panel has had regard to her email to EM dated 21 August 2015, her investigatory interview with LK dated 26 October 2016, her police statement dated 25 August 2015, her HCPC statement dated 6 April 2019 and her oral evidence to the Panel. Other than the date, Colleague 6 has provided a consistent account of the Registrant exposing his erect penis to her and saying “this is your last chance to touch it”. Colleague 6’s evidence was that the Registrant pulled the ambulance over to the side of the road at this point. The Panel also had regard to the AVLS printout which showed that from 00:01:17 to 00:02:48 on 11 May 2015, the ambulance stopped for a period of over one minute at Mount Street, a location close to the patient’s address, which supports Colleague 6’s account. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this comment and behaviour towards a colleague whilst in the course of a shift was clearly inappropriate.

93.  The Panel next considered whether the Registrant’s actions found proved in Particulars 1(i), 1(j), 1(k), 3(a), 3(b) and 4 were sexually motivated. At the close of the HCPC case Mr Foxsmith advised the Panel that he was not making any submissions in support Particulars 3(a) and 3(b) being sexually motivated.

94. The Panel is satisfied that the Registrant’s actions found proved in Particulars 1(i), 1(j), and 1(k) were deliberately carried out for the Registrant’s own sexual gratification and therefore is satisfied that they were sexually motivated.

95. The Panel agrees with Mr Foxsmith’s position and does not find that the actions found proved in Particulars 3(a) and 3(b) were sexually motivated.

96. The Panel is satisfied that the Registrant’s actions found proved in Particulars 4(a) to 4(l) involved a course of conduct whereby the Registrant was attempting to break down barriers with Colleague 6 as a precursor to a sexual relationship. The Panel is therefore satisfied that these actions were carried out by the Registrant for his own sexual gratification and in pursuit of a future sexual relationship and is therefore satisfied that all of these actions were sexually motivated.

Allegation 2
Particular 1(a) – found proved
97. Colleague A gave evidence that she had known the Registrant for a few months as a work colleague when she worked with him closely over the course of two twelve hour shifts in 2015 when she was an ambulance technician.

98. Colleague A gave evidence that when she was working one of the two shifts with the Registrant on either 3 or 4 June 2015, they were both in the front of the ambulance on their way to attend a patient and she had taken her jacket off as it was hot in the ambulance. Her evidence was that the Registrant said something to her along the lines of “Are you wearing a different bra today, because your tits look bigger”. She told the Panel that she laughed off the remark and told the Registrant to stop being a creep. She stated that the remark made her feel uncomfortable and that she was taken aback. She said that she did not report this to her employer as she was just new to the role at that point and just wanted to keep her head down and get on with the job. She told the Panel that she did not speak openly about her sex life or any other personal matters as claimed by the Registrant.

99. The Registrant stated that he did not make this comment.

100. The Panel has found Colleague A to be a credible and reliable witness. Where Colleague A’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague A. The Panel has had regard to her police statement dated 21 September 2015, her email to the HCPC dated 29 April 2020, her HCPC statement dated 16 January 2012 and her oral evidence to the Panel. Her evidence has been consistent in her account that the Registrant said to her “Are you wearing a different bra today as your tits look bigger” or words to that effect. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this comment towards a colleague whilst in the course of a shift was both unprofessional and inappropriate.

Particular 1(b) – found proved
101. Colleague A gave evidence that on one of the two shifts she worked with the Registrant, he said something along the lines of “I can’t wait to work a night shift with you” and she felt that he said this in a suggestive way.

102. The Registrant gave evidence that he certainly did not remember making that comment or the context around it and that he didn’t see why anything inappropriate could be inferred from it. He also accepted that, if said in a certain context, it could be taken as offensive or inappropriate.

103. The Panel has found Colleague A to be a credible and reliable witness. Where Colleague A’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague A. The Panel has had regard to her email to the HCPC dated 29 April 2020, her HCPC statement dated 16 January 2021 and her oral evidence to the Panel. Her evidence has been consistent in her account that the Registrant said to her “I can’t wait to work a nightshift with you” and that it was said in a suggestive way. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this comment towards a colleague whilst in the course of a shift was both unprofessional and inappropriate.

Particular 1(c) – found proved
104. Colleague A gave evidence that when they were in a stairwell in a block of flats on the way to attend a patient, she was walking up the stairs in front of the Registrant when he said something along the lines of “I am not perving on you, but you have missed a belt loop at the back of you trousers”. She gave evidence that the comment made her feel uneasy and the fact that he said that he was not “perving” on her made her fell as if he stated that he clearly was.

105. The Registrant gave evidence that he did not remember the exact instance and did not remember saying those words. He stated that they had a jokey, flirtatious relationship and Colleague A was friendly. He stated that he remembered having conversations about their personal lives and relationships.

106. The Panel has found Colleague A to be a credible and reliable witness. Where Colleague A’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague A. The Panel has had regard to her email to the HCPC dated 29 April 2020, her HCPC statement dated 16 January 2021 and her oral evidence to the Panel. Her evidence has been consistent in her account that the Registrant said to her “I’m not perving on you, but you have missed belt loop at the back of your trousers” as he walked behind her in the stairwell. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this comment towards a colleague whilst in the course of a shift was both unprofessional and inappropriate.

Particular 1(d) – found proved
107. Colleague A gave evidence that on one of the shifts they worked together, the Registrant told her that he and his wife had an open relationship. She stated that the Registrant would do something inappropriate, such as trying to put gloves down her top or make a derogatory comment, she would tell him to stop and remind him he had a wife and child and that was when he would say this. Her evidence was that he said this a couple of times.

108. The Registrant stated that at no point did he ever tell Colleague 6 that he had an open relationship with his wife. He stated that he did not have an open relationship with his wife and that his wife was not aware of his other relationships.

109. The Panel has found Colleague A to be a credible and reliable witness. Where Colleague A’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague A. The Panel has had regard to her police statement of 21 September 2015, her email to the HCPC dated 29 April 2020, her HCPC statement dated 16 January 2021 and her oral evidence to the Panel. Her evidence has been consistent in her account that the Registrant told her that he and his wife had an open relationship. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this comment towards a colleague whilst in the course of a shift was both unprofessional and inappropriate.

Particular 1(e) – found proved
110. Colleague A gave evidence that when she would protest and ask the Registrant to stop acting inappropriately, he would say something along the lines of “oh come on, it’s just a bit of fun”.

111. The Registrant gave evidence that some conversations they had were of a flirtatious nature but that he could not remember anything he said which was unwelcome or caused offence. He stated that it was normal behaviour for a group of people.

112. The Panel has found Colleague A to be a credible and reliable witness. Where Colleague A’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague A. The Panel has had regard to her email to the HCPC dated 29 April 2020, her HCPC statement dated 16 January 2021 and her oral evidence to the Panel. Her evidence has been consistent in her account that the Registrant said to her “Oh come on, it’s just a bit of fun”. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this comment towards a colleague whilst in the course of a shift was both unprofessional and inappropriate.

Particular 2(a) – found proved
113. Colleague A gave evidence that in the course of the shifts she worked with the Registrant, he unbuttoned the epaulettes on her work jacket when she was driving the ambulance on the way to a patient. She stated that she asked him numerous times to stop as it was distracting her from driving. She stated that she did not think this was sexual but rather found his behaviour annoying, distracting and quite dangerous as she was driving.

114. The Registrant gave evidence that this was common behaviour, that people would do this to him and he would do it to them. However, he stated that this would happen between jobs or when they first got into an ambulance and not in a moving vehicle. He stated that here was no way he would risk his own safety or the safety of others when someone was driving.

115. The Panel has found Colleague A to be a credible and reliable witness. Where Colleague A’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague A. The Panel has had regard to her email to the HCPC dated 29 April 2020, her HCPC statement dated 16 January 2021 and her oral evidence to the Panel. Her evidence has been consistent in her account that the Registrant unbuttoned the epaulettes on her jacket whilst she was driving the ambulance. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this behaviour towards a colleague whilst driving an emergency vehicle was both unprofessional and inappropriate.

Particular 2(b) – found proved
116. Colleague A gave evidence that when she was on shift with the Registrant she recalled that when she was driving the vehicle, he attempted to unfasten her seatbelt. She stated that he succeeded on occasions and she then had to try and put her seatbelt back on.

117. The Registrant stated that this was common behaviour among colleagues who were friends but that it would not happen in a moving vehicle as he would not risk his own safety or the safety of other road users. 

118. The Panel has found Colleague A to be a credible and reliable witness. Where Colleague A’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague A. The Panel has had regard to her email to the HCPC dated 29 April 2020, her HCPC statement dated 16 January 2021 and her oral evidence to the Panel. Her evidence has been consistent in her account that the Registrant unfastened her seatbelt whilst she was driving the ambulance. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this behaviour towards a colleague whilst she was driving was both unprofessional and inappropriate.

Particular 2(c) – found proved
119. Colleague A gave evidence that when she was on shift with the Registrant, she recalled that his behaviour would slowly get worse by starting to unbutton her epaulettes and then trying to put gloves down her top.

120. The Registrant gave evidence that this would never happen as they were not in a physical relationship and were never likely to be. When asked about the similarity to other allegations, he stated that he found it remarkable when people said they had no knowledge of other allegations as Colleague A and Colleague 6 were good friends who attended the same training course, spoke regularly and were from the same area. He said that they were part of a group of friends who were all socialising together and gossiping, leading to rumours which resulted in similar allegations.

121. The Panel has found Colleague A to be a credible and reliable witness. Where Colleague A’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague A. The Panel has had regard to her email to the HCPC dated 29 April 2020, her HCPC statement dated 16 January 2021 and her oral evidence to the Panel. Her evidence has been consistent in her account that the Registrant attempted to put gloves down her top whilst she was driving the ambulance. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this behaviour towards a colleague whilst she was driving an emergency vehicle was both unprofessional and inappropriate.

Particular 2(d) – found proved
122. Colleague A gave evidence that in the course of the shift the Registrant’s behaviour escalated further and he then attempted to put his hand down her top whilst she was driving the ambulance. She gave evidence that she told him to remove his and he did so. She stated that she felt that this was completely inappropriate and almost as if the other instances of behaviour were leading up to this.

123. The Registrant gave evidence that this would never have happened as they were not in a physical relationship. When referred to the similarity in the allegations of Colleague A and Colleague 6 he said that they were good friends, on the same training course, spoke regularly and were from the same area. He said it was remarkable to conclude that they had not been talking and Colleague A had no knowledge of what was going on.

124. The Panel has found Colleague A to be a credible and reliable witness. Where Colleague A’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague A. The Panel has had regard to her police statement dated 21 September 2015, her email to the HCPC dated 29 April 2020, her HCPC statement dated 16 January 2021 and her oral evidence to the Panel. Her evidence has been consistent in her account that the Registrant attempted to put his hand down her top whilst she was driving the ambulance. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this behaviour towards a colleague whilst she was driving an emergency vehicle was both unprofessional and inappropriate.

Particular 2(e) – found proved
125. Colleague A gave evidence that having attended to a patient, they were both in the back of the ambulance completing paperwork, tidying and re-stocking the emergency response bag and that the ambulance door is usually kept open when they are completing such tasks, especially as the incident occurred during the summer. She gave evidence that the Registrant shut the ambulance door, shut the blinds and pushed up against her and pushed her up against the bulkhead of the ambulance in a suggestive way. She stated that she was quite taken aback by his behaviour and she told him to get off her and he did.  She said he made comments along the lines of “it’s just a bit of fun” and “I have an open relationship”.

126. The Registrant gave evidence that this was just not the type of behaviour he would ever exhibit. He stated that he was in a position where he was receiving a lot of attention from other members of staff and so there was no reason for him to pursue a relationship with someone who was not interested. He stated that if these things had happened, there is no way it would not have been highlighted at the time. He said that obviously if it were true, it would be completely inappropriate behaviour, very serious and unprofessional. 

127. The Panel has found Colleague A to be a credible and reliable witness. Where Colleague A’s evidence conflicts with that of the Registrant, the Panel accepts the evidence of Colleague A. The Panel has had regard to her email to the HCPC dated 29 April 2020, her HCPC statement dated 16 January 2021 and her oral evidence to the Panel. Her evidence has been consistent in her account that when the ambulance was stationary, the Registrant shut the blinds and attempted to push her against the cupboard of the ambulance. The Panel accepts her evidence and finds the facts of this Particular proved. The Panel also considers that this behaviour towards a colleague whilst in the course of a shift was both unprofessional and inappropriate.

128. The Panel is aware that Colleague A’s police statement made on 21 September 2015 does not contain all of the particulars on which she has provided evidence to the HCPC. In particular it does not make reference to the facts alleged in Particular 1(e). Colleague A has explained that she attended the police station to provide a statement in connection with another matter and while there, was asked about the Registrant and that she had not had notice of this. She told the Panel that she left things out of her police statement as she was worried that the matter would be taken out of her hands. The Panel is of the view that this does not affect her credibility and has accepted her explanation of not wanting to become involved in the police process.

Particular 2(f) – found not proved
129. Mr Foxsmith advised the Panel that, in light of the evidence that had been given, the HCPC were not pursuing this Particular. The Panel accepts that the evidence given did not support the facts of this Particular and therefore found this Particular was not proved.

130. The Panel next considered whether the Registrant’s actions found proved in Particulars 1(a) to 1(e) and 2(c), 2(d) and 2(e) were sexually motivated.

131. The Panel considers that the conduct found proved in Particulars 1(a) to 1(e) and 2(c), 2(d) and 2(e) was consistent with behaviour which was designed to push sexual boundaries and the Panel is of the view that the Registrant was doing so for his own sexual gratification and in pursuit of a future sexual relationship. The Panel therefore finds that the Registrant’s actions found proved in Particulars 1(a) to 1(e) and 2(c), 2(d) and 2(e) were sexually motivated.

Decision on Grounds
132. The Panel next considered whether the Registrant’s actions found proved in Allegation 1 - Particulars 1(i) to 1(k), 3(a) to 3(e), 4(a) to 4(l) and 5, and Allegation 2 - Particulars 1(a) to 1(e), 2(a) to 2(e) and 3 amount to misconduct. The Registrant has admitted that his actions amount to misconduct and that as a result of that misconduct his fitness to practise is currently impaired. However, the Panel is aware that this is a matter for its professional judgement. In reaching its decision, the Panel has considered the submissions of Mr Foxsmith and Ms McPhee and has had regard to the HCPTS Practice Note on ‘Finding Fitness to Practice is Impaired’. The Panel has also accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel has also considered the reflective statement submitted by the Registrant in advance of the hearing and his evidence of CPD.

133. The Panel has concluded that the Registrant’s conduct, if found proved, breached the following standards:

HCPC’s Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (2012)
Standard 3 You must keep high standards of personal conduct.
Standard 7 You must communicate properly and effectively with other practitioners
Standard 13 You must behave with integrity and make sure that your behaviour does not damage the public’s confidence in you or your profession.

HCPC’s Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (2016)
Standard 9.1 You must make sure that your conduct justifies the public’s trust and confidence in you and your profession.

134. In respect of Particulars 1(i) to 1(k) of Allegation 1, the Panel is of the view that the Registrant’s conduct towards Colleague 1 was serious and was sexually motivated, having been carried out for the purposes of his own sexual gratification. In these circumstances the Panel finds that both individually and cumulatively, these actions fell well below the standards expected of a registered Paramedic and amount to misconduct.

135. In respect of Particulars 3(a) to 3(e) of Allegation 1, the Panel is of the view that his actions were a course of conduct towards Colleague 5 involving inappropriate and repetitive communication towards a junior colleague in the course of a shift. The Panel finds that this conduct was serious and fell well short of what was expected of a registered Paramedic and cumulatively, these actions amount to misconduct.

136. In respect of Particulars 4(a) to 4(l) of Allegation 1, the Panel is of the view that the Registrant’s conduct towards Colleague 6 was serious and was sexually motivated and an attempt to break down barriers with Colleague 6. The Panel has found that the Registrant carried out these actions for the purposes of his own sexual gratification and also in pursuit of a future sexual relationship. Those Particulars that involve inappropriate conduct in the course of driving an ambulance were serious and presented a significant risk of harm to those in the ambulance and other road users. These actions clearly fell well below the standards expected of a registered paramedic. In these circumstances the Panel finds that both individually and cumulatively these actions amount to misconduct.

137. In respect of Particulars 1(a) to 1(e) of Allegation 2, the Panel is of the view that the Registrant’s conduct towards Colleague A was serious and consistent with behaviour which was designed to push personal boundaries with Colleague A and were sexually motivated in that they were carried out in pursuit of a future sexual relationship. These actions clearly fell well below the standards expected of a registered paramedic. In these circumstances the Panel finds that cumulatively, these actions amount to misconduct.

138. In respect of Particulars 2(a) to 2(e) of Allegation 2, the Panel is of the view that the Registrant’s conduct towards Colleague A was serious and was consistent with a pattern of escalating behaviour which was designed to push sexual boundaries with Colleague A and were carried out in pursuit of a future sexual relationship. Those Particulars that involve inappropriate conduct in the course of driving an ambulance were serious and presented a significant risk of harm to those in the ambulance and other road users. These actions clearly fell well below the standards expected of a registered paramedic. In these circumstances the Panel finds that cumulatively, these actions amount to misconduct.

Decision on Impairment
139.  The Panel next considered whether the Registrant’s current fitness to practise is currently impaired by that misconduct. In reaching this decision, the Panel has considered both the personal component and the public component. In addition, the Panel has considered the submissions of Mr Foxsmith and Ms McPhee. The Panel has also had regard to the HCPC Practice Note on ‘Finding Fitness to Practise is Impaired’ and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel has also considered the reflective statement submitted by the Registrant in advance of the hearing and his evidence of CPD.

140. In terms of the personal component, the Panel has considered the reflective statement submitted by the Registrant in advance of the hearing and his evidence given at the facts stage. The Panel is of the view that these demonstrate very limited insight and show no evidence of remorse or concern for the complainants. The Registrant has repeatedly treated junior female colleagues, all early in their employment with the ambulance service, in a degrading and disrespectful manner and in the course of his evidence before the Panel did everything possible to undermine them.  The Panel is of the view that any insight he has now developed is in relation to the personal situation in which he now finds himself; the insight is not into his actions which brought him before this Panel or into the significant distress and potential reputational harm he has caused to the complainants in this matter. The Panel has concluded that any remorse is self-centred with little regard for those who were directly affected by his behaviour.

141. In terms of remediation, the Panel has had regard to the CPD documentation submitted by the Registrant which consists of certificates confirming training in: the Respect Campaign; Child Protection; Equality & Diversity; and Duty of Candour.  The Panel notes these certificates but has concluded that there is a distinct absence of any meaningful remediation. Although it is said that there has been no evidence of repetition since 2017, the Panel takes the view that there is a clear ongoing risk of repetition owing to the Registrant’s lack of insight and remediation of his behaviour.

142. The Panel has also considered the critically important public policy issues which include the collective need to maintain public confidence in the profession and in the regulatory process, the protection of service users and the declaring and upholding of proper standards of behaviour.  The Panel is of the view that the Registrant’s misconduct would seriously impact on public confidence in the profession. The Panel has found that while on duty, the Registrant has repeatedly behaved inappropriately towards four female colleagues, all of whom were junior to him and that many of these actions were sexually motivated. The Panel has concluded that both the public and fellow Paramedics would be appalled at this behaviour and there would be a serious risk of an adverse impact on public confidence in the profession and in the regulatory process, if a finding of impairment were not made in these circumstances.

143. The Panel therefore finds that the Registrant’s current fitness to practise is impaired by his misconduct on both the personal and public components and the Allegation is therefore well founded.

Decision on Sanction
144. The Panel has heard further evidence from the Registrant and has heard submissions from Mr Foxsmith and Ms McPhee on the issue of sanction. Ms McPhee referred the Panel to the cases of Blakely v GMC 2019 and Ujam v GMC 2012. The Panel has considered the sanctions available to it in ascending order of severity and has had regard to the HCPC Sanctions Policy. The Panel also accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.

145. The Panel is aware that the function of fitness to practise panels is not punitive and that the primary function of any sanction is to address public safety from the perspective of the risk the Registrant may pose to those using or needing his services in the future. In reaching its decision, the Panel must also give appropriate weight to the wider public interest considerations, which include the deterrent effect on other registrants, the reputation of the profession and public confidence in the regulatory process.

146. The Panel has heard further evidence from the Registrant prior to reaching its decision on sanction. The Panel has also had sight of a positive testimonial from a female friend of the Registrant and a number of training certificates. The Registrant did not produce a further written reflection following the initial findings of this Panel and instead chose to give evidence before the Panel to address this point and others. The Panel has drawn no adverse inference from this, nor indeed from the Registrant’s decision not to give further evidence at the misconduct and impairment stage of these proceedings.

147. In the course of his evidence, the Registrant stated repeatedly that he accepted the findings of the Panel and expressed remorse for his actions and for the impact on his colleagues and on the reputation of the profession. He stated that previously he had been defensive in his approach and that now he could clearly see the impact of his actions and apologised to his victims. He said that he now felt shame for his actions and that this reinforced his desire not to repeat the behaviour. He also expressed his commitment to his profession and told the Panel about the impact of any order which would prevent him continuing to work as a Paramedic. In the course of Panel questions, the Registrant accepted that he had acted in the manner alleged and found proved, despite continuing to deny the allegations until such time as the Panel had made its decision on the facts.

148. The Panel had regard to the following mitigating factors:
• the Registrant self-referred to the HCPC;
• he has engaged in the process;
• there have been no known issues since 2017;
• he provided an apology, albeit a very late one, to his victims;

149. The Panel had regard to the following aggravating factors:
• the majority of the Registrant’s actions were sexually motivated;
• the Registrant showed lack of candour during these proceedings and this undermines any remorse or remediation;
• the Registrant’s abuse of his position;
• the predatory and harassing nature of the Registrant’s behaviour which was targeted at junior female colleagues;
• all of the complainants were vulnerable as a result of the circumstances they were in as they were on their own with the Registrant, in an ambulance;
• the Registrant’s continued denial put all of the complainants through further distress;
• the Registrant’s attempts to undermine the integrity, credibility and reputation of complainants in the course of the hearing;
• the Registrant’s inappropriate behaviour was repeated in 2017;
• the Registrant’s very limited insight;
• the lack of any meaningful remediation;
• a number of the Registrant’s actions took place in moving ambulances and presented a real risk to other road users, his colleagues and in one instance a service user and health care professional.

150. The Panel first considered whether to take no further action and was of the view that this would not be sufficient to protect the public where it had identified a risk of repetition and a lack of remediation. The Panel was also of the view that this would not address the high level of public interest in this matter.

151. The Panel next considered a Caution Order. In terms of the HCPC Sanctions Policy, a caution may be appropriate where the lapse is isolated or of a minor nature, there is a low risk of recurrence and the Registrant has shown insight and taken remedial action. The Panel is of the view that a caution would not be an appropriate sanction as the lapse was not of a minor nature and there is limited insight. In addition, it would not address the need for remediation, nor would it address the risk of repetition. The Panel is also of the view that it would not address the seriousness of the conduct found proved or the public interest considerations.

152. The Panel next considered a Conditions of Practice Order. The Sanctions Policy states that conditions are less likely to be appropriate in cases of sexual misconduct and should only be considered where a panel is satisfied that the Registrant’s conduct was minor and out of character. The Panel has found serious failings which have been repeated over a period of time. The Panel is of the view that conditions would not be appropriate in these circumstances and would not address the public interest considerations.

153. The Panel next considered a Suspension Order. In terms of the Sanctions Policy, a Suspension Order may be appropriate where the Registrant has insight and the issues are unlikely to be repeated. The Panel has identified a risk of repetition in light of a lack of meaningful insight and remediation. The Panel is also of the view that the severity of the conduct found proved is such that the public interest would not be addressed by a Suspension Order.

154. The Panel has concluded that the nature and gravity of the conduct found proved, which includes repeated sexually motivated communication and behaviour targeted specifically at junior female colleagues, is such that any lesser sanction would be insufficient to protect the public, public confidence in the profession, and public confidence in the regulatory process.

155. In reaching this decision, the Panel has considered the impact on the Registrant including the financial impact. However, the Panel concluded that striking a balance between the interest of the Registrant and the HCPC’s overriding objective to protect the public and the public interest, a Striking Off Order is a proportionate sanction in all the circumstances. The Panel has concluded that the reputation of the profession is more important than the fortunes of an individual member as set out in the case of Bolton v the Law Society.

Order

That the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Mr David Lee from the Register on the date this order comes into effect.

Notes

Interim Order
The Panel thereafter considered Mr Foxsmith’s application for an Interim Suspension Order for a period of eighteen months in terms of Article 31 of the health and Social Work Professions Order 2001. The application was made on the grounds that it was otherwise in the public interest. Ms McPhee did not oppose the application.

The Panel considered Mr Foxsmith’s application and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel is aware that there is a high bar to be met in imposing an interim order on public interest grounds alone. However, the nature and gravity of the conduct found proved is such that this high bar has been met. The Panel agreed to make an Interim Suspension Order under Article 31(2) of the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001, the same being otherwise in the public interest. This order will expire: if no appeal is made against the Panel’s decision and Order, upon the expiry of the period during which such an appeal could be made; if an appeal is made against the Panel’s decision and Order, at the final determination of that appeal, subject to a maximum period of 18 months.

 

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr David Lee

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
01/02/2021 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Struck off