Mr Andris Imants Logins

: Social worker

: SW33441

: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing:10:00 24/04/2017 End: 17:00 24/04/2017

: Health and Care Professions Council, 405 Kennington Road, London, SE11 4PT

: Conduct and Competence Committee
: Struck off

Allegation

The HCPC has made the following allegation(s) against the Registrant:


1. On 21 March 2016 at Nottingham Crown Court you were convicted of:


a. 3 Counts of Indecent Assault on female;
b. 2 Counts of Rape of a female aged 16 years or over.
c. 2 Counts of Rape of a female aged 13, 14 or 15.
d. 3 Counts of Indecent Assault on female.
e. 1 Count of Assault/ill-treated/ neglect/ abandon a child/ young person likely to cause unnecessary suffering/ injury.
f. 4 Counts of Indecent Assault on male.
g. 2 Counts of Indecent Assault on female.


2. By reason of your conviction described in paragraph 1, your fitness to practise as a Social Worker is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary Matters

Proof of Service

1. The Panel has seen a copy of the Notice of Hearing and the Notice of Allegation, both dated 2 February 2017, which contain all the relevant information, the proof of posting of the same date, and a copy of the certificate of the Registrant’s registered address. The Panel determined that there was good service of the Notice of Hearing on the Registrant at his registered address in accordance with the provisions of Rule 6(1) of The Health and Care Professions Council (Conduct and Competence Committee) (Procedure) Rules 2003, as amended (“the Rules”).

Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant

2. The Panel heard a submission from Ms Hill on behalf of the HCPC to proceed in the absence of the Registrant under Rule 11 of the Rules. The Registrant was not present or represented, but the Registrant had (a) acknowledged service by returning the HCPC proforma response signed and dated 7 March 2017 and (b) sent a written statement of his representations dated 7 April 2017.


3. The Panel accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice to consider all the circumstances and take account of the relevant Practice Note on “Proceeding in the Absence of the Registrant” (September 2016).


4. The Panel noted that the Registrant had not applied for an adjournment, had acknowledged that the hearing would proceed in his absence, and had supplied written representations. The Panel concluded there was a public interest in final hearings being dealt with at the appropriate time and expeditiously. There was no reason to think that if the hearing was adjourned, the Registrant would then attend or be represented.


5. The Panel determined that the Registrant would not attend at a future date if this hearing was adjourned and he had exercised his choice not to be represented at the hearing today. It was accordingly fair, proportionate and in the public interest to proceed with this final hearing in his absence.

Background

6. It is alleged that the Registrant, a registered Social Worker, was convicted on 21 March 2016 of the offences, a summary of which is set out in the allegations above, by reason of which it is further alleged that his fitness to practise is impaired.

Decision on Facts

7. The Panel had placed before it copies of a memorandum of conviction on 21 March 2016 concerning the Registrant, duly certified by an Officer of the Crown Court at Nottingham on 31 March 2016.
 
8. The Panel accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice that the burden of proof rests on the HCPC and that the Panel should consider the HCPC Practice Note “Conviction and Caution Allegations” September 2015.
 
9. By r.10(1)(d) of the Rules, a certified copy of a memorandum of conviction is admissible as proof of the fact of the conviction and of the findings of facts on which it is based.

10. Although the Registrant disputed the offences at trial, and has continued to maintain his innocence, the Panel determined not to go behind the criminal conviction at the Crown Court and has found the conviction as alleged proved.

Decision on Grounds and Impairment

11. A conviction is a ground of impairment under Article 22(1)(iii) of the Health and Social Work Order 2001 and the Panel therefore determined that the ground of conviction was present.
 
12. The Panel next considered whether the conviction led to the current impairment of the Registrant’s fitness to practise.

13. Ms Hill referred the Panel to the Judge’s sentencing remarks when imposing the 20 years’ custodial sentence, lifetime signing of the sex offenders register, Sexual Harm Prevention Order and placement on the barring list by the Disclosure and Barring Services. The Registrant had been a residential social worker at a children’s home when these offences were committed during 1981 to 1985. The judge described the victims as vulnerable teenage boys and girls ‘already very lonely victims of emotional and/or physical and/or sexual abuse’. Whilst not particularly violent himself, the Registrant was complicit in the physical violence dealt out by his colleagues, but did leer at and beat Child C in a sadistic fashion when he had been stripped naked. The Registrant had raped Child B and Child D at least twice, and had performed oral sex on Child A, a fourteen/fifteen year old boy. The Judge had noted the absence of remorse, but had noted the positive contribution the Registrant had made to the lives of other children as a Social Worker, and to his own family. Ms Hill submitted that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired.

14. The Panel noted that the Registrant maintains that he has suffered the grave injustice of being wrongly convicted of historical child sexual abuse. The Panel also noted the positive testimonials the Registrant had supplied. That said, the Registrant recognises in his most recent submissions that it is likely “the outcome of this hearing will be to deregister me”. It was apparent that in November 2016 the Registrant was seeking to appeal his conviction, but he had not provided any recent information as to the progress of his efforts in that regard.

15. The Panel accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice that it should consider the HCPC’s additional Practice Note “Finding that Fitness to Practise is ‘Impaired’” (July 2013).

16. In considering the personal component as set out in that Practice Note, the Panel took account of the aggravating features in this case: the extremely serious nature of the offences; the serious breach of trust involved; the number of offences committed; the length of time over which the offences were committed; and the lack of remorse. The Panel also considered the mitigating circumstances of: the length of time since the commission of the offences; the positive role the Registrant had played in his own family’s lives; the work carried out by the Registrant as a Social Worker in more recent times in placing children for adoption, as attested in the four testimonials supplied; and the absence of any other conviction or regulatory proceedings.

17. With regard to the public component, the Panel considered that the offences were so serious that a finding of non-impairment would undermine public confidence in the profession and in the regulatory process.

18. The Panel therefore determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired by reason of the conviction on the basis of both the personal and public components of the test.

Decision on Sanction

19. Ms Hill submitted that sanction is a matter entirely for the Panel in the exercise of its professional judgement. She further submitted that the purpose of a sanction was not to punish the Registrant, but to protect the public and the wider public interest. Ms Hill reminded the Panel of the long custodial sentence and barring order imposed by the Court and submitted that the Registrant should not be in unrestricted practice whilst any part of the sentence was in force. She finally submitted that the circumstances of this case would call for the most restrictive sanction.

20. The Panel accepted the Legal Assessor’s advice that it must at all times bear in mind that the purpose of a sanction is to protect the public, and to protect the wider public interest, including the public’s confidence in the profession and declaring and upholding proper standards of conduct.

21. The Panel carefully considered the application of the HCPC’s “Indicative Sanctions Policy”, including the need for the Panel to exercise the principle of proportionality. This means that if a sanction is required, the sanction imposed should be the minimum appropriate sanction. Whilst the impact on the Registrant of a particular sanction must be considered, it is not the primary consideration.

22. The Panel considered that the offences in this case were so grave as to make the imposition of a caution order, a conditions of practice order, or a suspension order inadequate and inappropriate to sufficiently protect service users and the wider public interests of maintaining confidence in the profession and declaring and upholding proper standards of conduct.

23. The Panel considered the following paragraphs of the “Indicative Sanctions Policy” to be relevant:
“40. Striking off is a sanction of last resort for serious, deliberate or reckless acts involving abuse of trust such as sexual abuse, dishonesty or persistent failure.
41. Striking off should be used where there is no other way to protect the public, for example, where there is a lack of insight, continuing problems or denial. A registrant’s inability or unwillingness to resolve matters will suggest that a lower sanction may not be appropriate.


42. Striking off may also be appropriate where the nature and gravity of the allegation are such that any lesser sanction would lack deterrent effect or undermine confidence in the profession concerned or the regulatory process. Where striking off is used to address these wider public protection issues, Panels should provide clear reasons for doing so. Those reasons must explain why striking off is appropriate and not merely repeat that it is being done to deter others or maintain public confidence.”

24. The Panel determined that the only order it could make that would be sufficient is a Striking Off Order. These offences involved rape and indecent assault on vulnerable children in the care of the Registrant and thus involved the severest breach of trust and abuse of position as a residential social worker. The Registrant is subject to severe restrictions on his contact with young people. The Panel were in no doubt that striking-off was required because of the gravity of the offences in order to protect service users. The Panel has determined that his actions are incompatible with the role of a Social Worker. In addition, striking-off was the only sufficient order that could protect public confidence in the profession and the regulatory process, and uphold the standards of conduct required of a Social Worker.

Order

ORDER: The Registrar is directed to strike the name of Mr Andris Imants Logins from the Register on the date this Order comes into effect.

Notes

The Order imposed today will apply from 22 May 2017 (the Operative Date).

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Mr Andris Imants Logins

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
24/04/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Struck off