Mr Lars Stuewe

Profession: Paramedic

Registration Number: PA23252

Hearing Type: Review Hearing

Date and Time of hearing: 10:00 27/06/2022 End: 17:00 27/06/2022

Location: Virtual hearing - Video conference

Panel: Conduct and Competence Committee
Outcome: No further action

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Allegation

Allegation

(As amended at the commencement of the final hearing).

During the course of your engagement with Concierge Practitioner NI Ltd and CPNI Ambulance Service Ltd:

1. You behaved inappropriately and/or offensively towards Colleague A, in that:

a. Between around 1 April 2012 and 25 May 2015 you:

i. Made homophobic comments towards Colleague A;

ii. Made homophobic gestures towards Colleague A;

iii. (Not Proven)

iv. (Not Proven)

v. Referred to Colleague A as 'gay-boy' or words to that effect;

vi. [HCPC Offered No Evidence].

b. On or around 26 May 2013, you discussed Colleague A's homosexuality with Witness 1 and:

i. Questioned how Witness 1 could associate with Colleague A given Witness 1's religious beliefs;

ii. When talking about Colleague A with Witness 1, you quoted Chapter 22, Verse 18 of Leviticus, stating that:

1. It was an “abomination to lie with another man”

or words to that effect; and/or

2. He was 'living in sin' or word to that effect.

c. (Not Proven)

d. On or about 1 November 2013, you discussed Colleague A's sexuality with Witness 1 and:

i. Questioned whether Witness 1 was 'comfortable going into business with someone who is gay' or words to that effect;

ii. Said 'what would Father think if he knew this?' or words to that effect.

e. You suggested to Colleague A that there was an increased risk of HIV infection involved with the use of needles by homosexual staff:

i. (Not Proven)

ii. (Not Proven)

iii. [HCPC Offered No Evidence].

f. On an unknown date in August 2014, you:

i. (Not Proven)

ii. (Not Proven)

2. Your actions, as set out in Particulars 1(a) – (f), constitute misconduct.

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

Finding

SUMMARY

Decision of the Health and Care Professions Tribunal, sitting as the Conduct and Competence Committee of the Health and Care Professions Council.

This is a review of a Conditions of Practice Order imposed on 8 January 2021 for a period of eighteen months.

This order is due to expire on 4 August 2022

Factual particulars found proved at the substantive hearing:

 

During the course of your engagement with Concierge Practitioner NI Ltd and CPNI Ambulance Service Ltd:

  1. You behaved inappropriately and/or offensively towards Colleague A, in that:
    a. Between around 1 April 2012 and 25 May 2015 you:
    i. Made homophobic comments towards Colleague A;
    ii. Made homophobic gestures towards Colleague A;
    iii. [NOT PROVED];
    iv. [NOT PROVED];
    v. Referred to Colleague A as 'gay-boy' or words to that effect;
    vi. [HCPC OFFERED NO EVIDENCE].
    b. On or around 26 May 2013, you discussed Colleague A's homosexuality with Witness 1 and:
    i. Questioned how Witness 1 could associate with Colleague A given Witness 1's religious beliefs;
    ii. When talking about Colleague A with Witness 1, you quoted Chapter 22, Verse 18 of Leviticus, stating that:
    1 It was an “abomination to lie with another man” or words to that effect; and/or
    2. He was 'living in sin' or word to that effect.
    c. [NOT PROVED]
    d. On or about 1 November 2013, you discussed Colleague A's sexuality with Witness 1 and:
    i. Questioned whether Witness 1 was 'comfortable going into business with someone who is gay' or words to that effect;
    ii. Said 'what would Father think if he knew this?' or words to that effect.
    e. [NOT PROVED]
    f. [NOT PROVED]

 

Only factual particulars 1(a)(i), 1(a)(ii) and 1(a)(v) were found to be so serious as to amount to misconduct.

The Panel at the final hearing found that the risk of repetition of the misconduct was low but nevertheless the Panel determined that the Public Interest required a finding of impairment because of the nature and seriousness of the misconduct.

 

Preliminary Matters

Conflict of interest

  1. At the start of proceedings, the Registrant asked the Panel to consider whether there was any conflict of interest as he was a private provider of ambulance services to the NHS. The Registrant ask them to consider whether the Panel members held:
    1. Views against private providers of service to the NHS, or
    2. political views; or
    3. views against foreigners working in the United Kingdom

that affect their independence, or give rise to bias on their part in relation to this case or to the Registrant.

  1. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. He advised the Panel that in these matters, the test is a two-fold test and referred the Panel to the case of Magill v Porter (2001) UKHL 67
  2. The Legal Assessor advised that that first question to be answered was whether each Panel Member felt that held such views.
  3. If they did then they must consider whether their independence was compromised. If so, then that Panel Member must recuse his or herself.
  4. Even if they felt that their independence was not compromised, the Panel must consider whether the fair-minded observer, having considered the facts and circumstances of the case, would conclude that there was a real possibility that the tribunal was biased.
  5. The Legal Assessor advised the Panel that when considering this matter, the Panel can assume that the fair-minded observer is neither complacent nor unduly sensitive or suspicious.
  6. Each member of the Panel considered the issues and determined that they did not have a conflict of interest as they did not hold such views.
  7. The Panel also considered that the fair-minded observer, having considered the facts and circumstances of this case, would not conclude that there was a real possibility that this Panel was biased.

Background

  1. The Registrant is registered with the HCPC as a Paramedic. The Registrant and the complainant, Colleague A, both worked for a private ambulance service, Company C (Company C appears to have two corporate entities). Company C was formed in 2012 and the Registrant, via his family company, was the majority shareholder. Colleague A was appointed a Director of Company C on 30 August 2013.
  2. It was alleged that the Registrant made several discriminatory and homophobic comments about Colleague A. The comments are alleged to have been made directly to Colleague A and at times to others when Colleague A was not present. The alleged behaviour occurred over a period of approximately 3 years.
  3. Colleague A was suspended from Company C on 29 April 2015 and was dismissed on 25 May 2015 in relation to allegations of misconduct. Following his dismissal, Colleague A lodged an Employment Tribunal discrimination claim.
  4. The substantive hearing started on 5 September 2019. Due to a number of adjournments, it was concluded on 8 January 2021. A number of factual particulars were found not proved, and misconduct was found only on the first factual particular.
  5. The substantive hearing panel determined that the Registrant did not present a risk to members of the public as the risk of repetition of the misconduct was low. However, that panel determined that the public interest required a finding of impairment and that the public interest required a Conditions of Practice Order to be imposed for a period of 18 months in the terms as imposed.

 

Decision

Submissions

  1. Ms Khorassani, on behalf of the HCPC, outlined the background of the case.
  2. The Registrant drew the Panel’s attention to the fact that there had not been any previous complaint about his practice. He pointed out that there has not been any further complaint against him. He said that he had been working as a volunteer paramedic in Gibraltar. He also outlined the current volunteer work that he was doing to assist members of the LGBT community.
  3. The Registrant informed the Panel that he had lodged an appeal by way of a Claim in the High Court against the findings of the previous Panel. However, due to the complicated procedure required as a result of him being resident in Gibraltar, his initial Claim was struck out. He then lodged a new Claim in line with the procedure required but that had been struck out as it had been lodged out of time.
  4. The Registrant informed the Panel that he had appealed to the Court of Appeal against the first instance decision to strike out the second Claim and that appeal has yet to be determined.
  5. The Registrant submitted that in the circumstances, the Panel should remit the remainder of the order by revoking it immediately.

Legal Advice

  1. The Legal Assessor advised the Panel that as a result of the striking out of the Claims, there was currently no live appeal as the Court of Appeal has not yet determined the issue.
  2. The Legal Assessor reminded the Panel that the finding of the panel on the previous occasion was that the risk of repetition was low. Therefore, that panel determined that the Registrant is not liable in future to put the public at risk of harm, nor is he liable in future to bring the profession into disrepute, nor is he liable to breach a fundamental tenet of the profession. It therefore found that the Registrant’s fitness to practice was impaired solely on the public interest grounds alone.
  3. The Legal Assessor reminded the Panel that the previous panel had determined that the Public Interest required a Conditions of Practice Order in for a period of 18 months to be imposed. He advised the Panel that the Public Interest does not change and in the circumstances, the Panel should not change or extend the current order, nor should it remit the remainder of the order.
  4. The Legal Assessor reminded the Panel that its role was not to conduct a rehearing of the allegations nor was it to go behind the previous findings. He advised that in carrying out this assessment, the Panel must exercise its own independent judgment.

Panel’s considerations and decision

  1. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel first considered whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired. The Panel took into consideration the oral testimony of the Registrant, the documentation before it, and the submissions of both parties. In particular it noted the following factors:
    1. This is a case of misconduct and there is no suggestion that the Registrant lacked the requisite competence to carry out the role of a Paramedic.
    2. The engagement of the Registrant with the process.
  2. The Panel is also satisfied that the public interest has been satisfied in that the Registrant has been held to account, that proper standards of practice and behaviour have been declared.
  3. Therefore, the Panel determines that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is no longer impaired.
  4. The Panel determined that the Conditions of Practice be permitted to lapse upon its expiry.

Order

Order:          The Order be allowed to lapse upon its expiry

Notes

No notes available

Hearing History

History of Hearings for Mr Lars Stuewe

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
27/06/2022 Conduct and Competence Committee Review Hearing No further action
04/01/2021 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Conditions of Practice
19/10/2020 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Adjourned part heard
23/06/2020 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Adjourned part heard
06/01/2020 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Adjourned part heard
05/09/2019 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Adjourned part heard