Mr Moses Uriah Reid

: Social worker

: SW31964

Interim Order: Imposed on 22 Apr 2016

: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing:10:00 22/06/2017 End: 17:00 22/06/2017

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

: Conduct and Competence Committee
: Struck off

Allegation

On 4 November 2016 at Birmingham Crown Court you were convicted of:

1. Indecent Assault on Female;

2. Indecent Assault on Female;

3. Attempted Rape;

4. Attempted Rape;

5. Indecent Assault on Female;

6. Indecent Assault on Female.

7. By reason of your conviction(s) as set out at paragraph(s) 1 - 6 your fitness to practise as a Social Worker is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary Matters


Proof of Service

1. The Panel was informed by the Hearings Officer that notice of this hearing was sent to the Registrant’s registered address by letter dated 27 March 2017, and contained the required particulars. A copy was also sent to him by email on the same date. The Panel acknowledged that the Registrant had another address known to the HCPC at HMP Birmingham, but had regard to the two letters received from the Registrant, dated 31 January and 16 February 2017, to the HCPC informing them that the Registrant did not want to receive correspondence at the prison, and emphasising that his address of choice was his registered address. The Panel was satisfied that notice had been properly served as required by the Rules.
Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant

2. Ms Eales, on behalf of the HCPC, applied for the hearing to proceed in the Registrant’s absence. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor who advised that the Panel’s discretion to proceed in the Registrant’s absence should be exercised with the utmost care and caution.

3. The Panel was satisfied that there had been good service of the notice on the Registrant, such that he had the means of knowledge as to when and where his Hearing would take place. The Panel acknowledged that the Registrant was not free to attend the Hearing in person, due to being in prison, however, the Panel had regard to the contents of the notice, dated 27 March 2017, which set out the different methods by which a Registrant could participate in a Hearing, including seeking legal representation, or requesting reasonable adjustments. There had been no communication by him to the effect that he would wish to participate in the Hearing by other means, and the Panel was therefore satisfied that the Registrant had decided not to participate in proceedings.


4. The Panel was satisfied that the HCPC had fulfilled its obligations and taken all reasonable steps to serve the notice on the Registrant in accordance with the Rules.


5. The Panel was mindful of the fact that that the Registrant was currently serving a lengthy prison sentence and would not be in a position to attend a hearing in person for several years. However, It was of the view that the interests of justice would not be served by such a lengthy delay to proceedings. The Panel was of the view that it was in the interests of justice that the hearing should proceed. The Panel, therefore, decided to proceed in the Registrant’s absence.


Background

6. The Registrant is a Social Worker, registered with the HCPC. He was employed by Walsall Council. On 21 July 2015 he was arrested in respect of allegations of sexual offending dating back to between 1974 and 1980.


7. On 14 November 2016, at Birmingham Crown Court, the Registrant was convicted, after trial, of four counts of indecent assault on a female and two counts of attempted rape. The complainant was a girl believed to be aged around 4 or 5 years when the offending started and it continued until she was 10 years’ of age. The Registrant was in his 20s and acted as her babysitter.


8. The Registrant was sentenced to a total of 10 years’ imprisonment. As a consequence of the sentence, the Registrant is subject to a requirement of indefinite registration on the Sex Offenders Register.


Decision on Facts

9. The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. The Panel understood that the burden of proving the facts rests on the HCPC and that the HCPC will only be able to prove a fact, if it satisfies the required standard of proof, namely the civil standard, whereby it is more likely than not that the alleged incident occurred.


10. For the reasons stated above, Registrant did not attend, nor was he represented in his absence.
Particulars 1 to 6

11. The Panel found each of particulars 1 to 6 proved.


12. The Panel had regard to Rule 10(d) which states: 'where the registrant has been convicted of a criminal offence, a certified copy of the certificate of conviction (...) shall be admissible as proof of that conviction and the finding of fact upon which it was based'.


13. The Panel had before it a copy of the Certificate of Conviction, dated 14 November 2016, from Birmingham Crown Court, which recorded each of the offences of which the Registrant had been convicted. The Panel was satisfied to the required standard, that the Registrant had been convicted of each of the offences as itemised within particulars 1 to 6.


Statutory Ground

14. Having found the facts proved, the Panel was satisfied that, by its nature, it amounted to the statutory ground of a conviction.


Decision on Impairment

15. The Panel next went on to consider whether the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired as a consequence of the convictions.

16. Ms Eales submitted that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired by reason of his convictions. She identified the case of Cohen v GMC and the ‘critically important public policy issues’ which the Panel should take into account when considering impairment. She submitted that a finding of impairment was required in order to uphold public confidence in the profession.

17. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor. It had regard to the HCPC Practice Note on Convictions and Cautions. It also had regard to the HCPC Practice Note on Impairment, and in particular its reference to the case of Cohen v GMC, which identified the ‘critically important public policy issues’ as:


‘The need to protect the individual [service user] and the collective need to maintain confidence in the profession as well as declaring and upholding proper standards of conduct and behaviour which the public expect… and that public interest includes amongst other things the protection of [service users] and maintainance of public confidence in the profession’.


18. The Panel was of the view that the case was extremely serious, and this was reflected in the 10 year custodial sentence which the Registrant had received. The Panel had regard to the remarks of the sentencing Judge who had found this to be a case of abuse of trust. The Judge further identified that the Complainant was a young child who had been repeatedly sexually abused over a number of years and although this sexual offending had occurred over 35 years ago, the long term detrimental impact on the Complainant had been significant.


19. The Panel noted that the Registrant had denied the offences, having been convicted after trial. The offending had been repeated, occurring over a number of years. In these circumstances, the Panel concluded that there was no insight into his offending. From the Judge’s sentencing remarks, it appeared that the offending had profoundly affected the complainant’s life and resulted in significant trauma so far as forming relationships was concerned.


20. The Panel noted that the Registrant had practised as a Social Worker for some 30 years following the offending, and that he was now in his 60s. However, the Panel had regard to the Practice Note on Conviction and Caution Allegations, and in particular the following paragraph:

In considering the nature, circumstances and gravity of the offence, Panels need to take account of public protection in its broadest sense, including whether the Registrant’s actions bring the profession concerned into disrepute or may undermine public confidence in that profession. In doing so, Panels are entitled to adopt a ‘retrospective’ approach and consider the conviction as if the registrant was applying for registration with the HCPC.


21. Given the Panel’s view of the serious nature and circumstances of the sexual offences, it concluded that the Registrant had brought the profession into disrepute and would undermine public confidence in the profession. In light of this, the Panel concluded that if it was considering afresh whether the Registrant should be admitted to the Register this Panel would not admit him to the register.


22. In all the circumstances, the Panel was of the view that not to find current impairment would have a significant detrimental reputational effect on the Regulator, and would severely undermine public confidence in the profession. The Panel considered that a well informed member of the public, would find it profoundly unacceptable if the Regulator did not take action against a Social Worker convicted of such serious charges.


23. Accordingly, in all the circumstances, the Panel finds that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired.
Sanction

1. Having determined that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired by reason of his convictions, the Panel next went on to consider whether it was impaired to a degree which required action to be taken on his registration by way of the imposition of a sanction.

2. The Panel accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor and it exercised its independent judgement. The Panel had regard to the HCPC Indicative Sanctions Policy (ISP) and considered the sanctions in ascending order of severity. The Panel was aware that the purpose of a sanction is not to be punitive but to protect members of the public and to safeguard the wider public interest, which includes upholding standards within the profession, together with maintaining public confidence in the profession and its regulatory process.

3. The Panel considered the alternative sanctions available, beginning with the least restrictive. The Panel did not consider that the option of taking no further action, or the sanctions of a Caution Order or a Conditions of Practice Order to be appropriate or proportionate in the circumstances of this case. None of these options would reflect the seriousness of the case and satisfy high public interest aspect of this case, namely the need to maintain public confidence in the profession. In respect of a Conditions of Practice Order, the Panel also had regard to the case of Fleischmann (Council for the Regulation of Healthcare Professionals v (1) General Dental Council (2) Alexander Fleischmann [2005] EWHC 87 (Admin)) and the general principle that in order to maintain public confidence in the profession, a Registrant should not, ordinarily, be permitted to practise, either with or without restriction, whilst subject to a criminal sentence. In this case, the Registrant had been sentenced on 4 November 2016  to 10 years of imprisonment and was still serving his sentence, and would be for some years to come.

4. The Panel next considered a Suspension Order. Given the serious nature of the Registrant’s repeated sexual offending when in a position of trust and the significant harm which the complainant had consequently suffered, the Panel concluded that a Suspension Order was insufficient to mark the nature and gravity of the offending. Further, having regard to the case of Fleischmann, the Panel was also mindful that the Registrant would still be serving his sentence of imprisonment in 12 months’ time, which is the maximum period for which a Suspension Order could be made, and by which time an Order for Suspension would have to be reviewed.


5. The Panel considered a Striking Off Order and concluded that this was the only appropriate and proportionate sanction in this case.

6. The Panel had regard to paragraph 47 of the ISP which states:

Striking off is a sanction of last resort for serious, deliberate or reckless acts involving abuse of trust such as sexual abuse (…).

7. For the reasons earlier identified, the Panel was satisfied that this was a case which fell into this identified category.

8. The Panel also had regard to paragraph 49 of the ISP, which states:

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…’

9. For the reasons previously given, Panel was of the view that the nature and gravity of the Registrant’s offending are such that a Striking Off Order is required, both to give effect to the general principle in the case of Fleischmann and to satisfy the wider public interest in this case. It was clear to the Panel that any reasonably well informed member of the public would be profoundly concerned if a Social Worker, convicted of such offences, were not removed from the Register.

10. In terms of the principle of proportionality, the Panel noted that the Registrant would be prevented from working in the profession by this Order. However, it recognised that he was already prevented by the sentence of imprisonment from working in the profession, and the high public interest of maintaining public confidence in the profession outweighs his own interests.

 

Order


ORDER:
The Registrar is directed to strike the name of Moses Uriah Reid from the Register on the date this order comes into effect.

Notes

This Conduct and Competence Committee Panel Final Hearing took place at HCPC London on Thursday 22 June 2017 at 10:00am

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Mr Moses Uriah Reid

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
22/06/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Struck off