Miss Cedella Sadia Kenyon

: Social worker

: SW10233

Interim Order: Imposed on 05 Jan 2016

: Final Hearing

Date and Time of hearing:10:00 04/07/2017 End: 17:00 04/07/2017

: Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service (HCPTS), 405 Kennington Road, London, SE11 4PT

: Conduct and Competence Committee
: Struck off

Allegation

1. On 26 February 2016 at the Crown Court at Birmingham, you were convicted of the following offences:

a. Possession with intent to supply a controlled drug of class A heroin on or about 13 November 2015;

b. Possession with intent to supply a controlled drug of class A crack cocaine on or about 13 November 2015;

c. Possession with intent to supply a controlled drug of class A cocaine on or about 13 November 2015.

2. By reason of your conviction as set out in Paragraph 1a, 1b and 1c, your fitness to practice as a Social Worker is impaired.

Finding

Preliminary matters:
Service


1) The Panel was aware that written notice of these proceedings was posted by first class post to the Registrant at her registered address on 05 May 2017.  The Registrant was also served by email. The Panel was shown documents which established the fact of the service, the identity of the Registrant’s registered address and her email address. HCPC made use of a search agent to obtain a new address for the Registrant since leaving prison. However, these documents were also returned. In these circumstances the Panel accepted that proper service of the notice had been effected.

Proceeding in the absence of the Registrant


2) Ms David on behalf of the HCPC submitted that the hearing should proceed in the absence of the Registrant. She acknowledged that despite efforts to ascertain the current address of the Registrant [she has been released from prison] it has not proved possible to effect actual delivery of the documents. However, she submitted that the Registrant was under a duty to inform the HCPC of her current address and that service had been effected in accordance with the Rules. Ms David also informed the Panel that the Registrant has not engaged with the HCPC or been in contact with it.

3) The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor.


4) The Panel was aware of the need to consider the application to proceed in the absence of the Registrant with great caution. However, after giving that application very careful thought, the Panel has determined to allow it. Its reasons are as follows;

• Notice of this hearing has been properly served on the Registrant.
• The Registrant has not applied for an adjournment.
• The Registrant has not at any time engaged with the HCPC.
• There is no reason to suppose that if an adjournment was granted the Registrant would attend.
• There is a public interest in disposing of this matter as soon as can properly and fairly be done.


Procedure


5) The Panel decided to consider the facts and impairment as a single stage and then, if appropriate, to consider sanction separately.


Background

6) The Registrant is by profession a Social Worker registered as such with the HCPC. She was working as a locum social worker for HCL Social Care at the time of her arrest for the offences which led to her conviction as set out in the Allegation. 

 
7) On 26 February 2016 at Birmingham Crown Court the Registrant, on her own confession, was convicted on indictment of the following offences:

 
1. Possession with intent to supply a controlled drug of class A – heroin on or about 13 November 2015;

2. Possession with intent to supply a controlled drug of class A – crack cocaine on or about 13 November 2015;


3. Possession with intent to supply a controlled drug of class A – cocaine on or about 13 November 2015.


8) In respect of the above offences the Registrant was sentenced on 21 December 2016 as follows:
‘Total sentence of 34 months and 2 weeks imprisonment’.


9) The Registrant was sentenced with two accomplices. The Panel has read the comments of the sentencing judge, Her Honour Judge Stacey. When addressing the principal offender the Judge stated “We had a considerable volume, over 1.1 kilos of heroin at 70% purity levels. We had in fact what was a drugs factory at the flat and 49 grams of crack cocaine and all the bulking -out paraphernalia needed to cut that down into street deals, and enormous quantities of money would have been made through the sale of those drugs”. The principal offender was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of ten years.


10)  When addressing the Registrant Judge Stacey stated that the Registrant “also performed a lesser role and I considered her to have been a more vulnerable person because it was her premises that were being used by those more powerful and determined than her. And to some extent she was her own victim from her own difficult personal circumstances and I am moved by the letter not only from her but from her character references ….., and I also accept, [her counsel’s] submission that in many respects the facts of the case are more similar to [one of] allowing her premises to be used or abused in this case”.  However, the Judge stated that taking into account “the volume and the quality of the drugs” but giving credit for the early guilty plea, she was obliged to impose the sentences stated above. The sentences were imposed on the Registrant on 16 December 2016.


A summary of the evidence and other material before the Panel


11) The Panel has seen and has read a number of documents produced by the HCPC. These include;

• The Certificates of Conviction and sentence from Birmingham Crown Court.
• The transcript of the remarks of Judge Stacey when sentencing the Registrant.
• A letter dated 24 November 2015 from the relevant department of the West Midlands Police informing the HCPC of the Registrant’s arrest and the circumstances surrounding that arrest.
• Various emails between the Police and the HCPC regarding updates of the case.

Submissions made as to facts and impairment.


12) The Panel considered the submissions as to facts and impairment made by Ms David on behalf of the HCPC. In summary she said as follows;


• The fact of the conviction and sentence was proved by the Certificate of Conviction referred to above.
• The offences for which the Registrant was convicted and sentenced, were very serious and wholly incompatible with the duties of a social worker. A finding of impairment to the Registrant’s fitness to practise is required in order to maintain proper standards of conduct within the profession. Moreover, public confidence in the profession, in the HCPC and in its regulatory functions would be undermined if a finding of impairment was not made.


13) The Panel took into account the observations of Judge Stacey.


14) The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the Legal Assessor as to facts, and impairment.


15) The Panel was aware that on matters of fact the burden of proof rests on the HCPC and that the standard of proof is the civil one namely on the balance of probabilities.


Decision on facts.


16) The Panel found the facts as alleged in paragraphs 1.a, 1.b, and 1.c, of the Allegation proved. In coming to this conclusion the Panel has relied on;


• The Certificate of Conviction referred to above.
Impairment


17)  The Panel next considered whether by reason of the Registrant’s conviction, her fitness to practice is impaired.


18)    The Panel considered the submissions made by Ms David on behalf of the HCPC.


19)    The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the legal assessor.

20)   The Panel was aware that any finding as to impairment was for the independent judgement of the Panel.


21)      The Panel is aware that what is to be assessed is the Registrant’s current fitness to practise.


22)      In considering this issue the Panel considered and applied the principles stated by Mrs Justice Cox in the case of the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence v Nursing and Midwifery Council ; Paula Grant [2011] EWHC 927 [Admin]  together with the observations of Mr Justice Silber in  the case of Cohen v General Medical Council [2008] EWHC 581 [Admin].

23)     The Panel concluded that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired by reason of the conviction found proved. Its reasons are as follows;


• The offences in question are very serious, involving intent to supply and are a fundamental departure from the duties of a social worker.

• The profession of social worker could involve interaction with service users who are themselves involved in drug use. The Registrant has not engaged with the HCPC and has shown no insight, contrition or remorse or any evidence of remediation. In the circumstances the Panel cannot exclude the risk of repetition.


• Furthermore, the Panel determined that public confidence in the profession and in the regulatory process of the HCPC  as well as the need to maintain proper standards would be undermined if a finding of impairment was not made. In coming to this conclusion the Panel kept in mind the considerations set out above and noted the observations of Judge Stacey and the sentence that she has imposed and to which the Registrant is presently subject.


24)     The Panel also concluded that the Registrant was in breach of ‘Standard 9 of the Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics’ published by the HCPC which provides:


  ‘Be honest and trustworthy; you must make sure that your conduct justifies the public’s trust and confidence in you and your profession’

25) For all the reasons set out above the Panel concludes that the Registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired by reason of her conviction.


Sanction

26)   Ms David  made submissions on behalf of the HCPC.

27)  The Panel heard and accepted the advice of the legal assessor.

28)  The Panel kept in mind that the purpose of a sanction is not to be punitive but is designed to protect the public interest which includes protecting members of the public from possible harm, maintaining proper standards within the profession, the reputation of the profession itself and public confidence in the regulatory functions of the HCPC.

29)  The Panel took into account the Indicative Sanctions Policy [ISP] that has been published by the HCPC.

30)   In considering whether to make an order and the nature and duration of any order to be made, the Panel applied the principle of proportionality weighing the Registrant’s interests with the need to protect the public interest.

31) The Panel took into account both mitigating and aggravating circumstances.

32)  Mitigating factors included the remarks made by Judge Stacey when sentencing the Registrant, describing her as a vulnerable individual with difficult personal circumstances.

33)  However the Panel also considered the following aggravating factors namely the volume and quality of the drugs in question and the fact that such offences were wholly incompatible with the profession of social work. The Registrant has not engaged with the HCPC and the Panel has no evidence of any insight, contrition, remorse or remediation.

34)  The Panel considered the sanctions available to it in ascending order of severity. In arriving at its decision the Panel applied the principles that are set out in the ISP.

No action


35)     The Panel concluded that having regard to the facts that have been found proven, to take no further action would be wholly inappropriate. Such an outcome would provide no protection to the public, would undermine confidence in the profession and in the regulatory functions of the HCPC. This would not maintain standards of conduct and performance within the profession.


Mediation


36)    The Panel a concluded that mediation was not appropriate to a case of this kind.


Caution


37)    For the same reasons as those just expressed in paragraph 35 with regard to taking no action the Panel concluded that a caution order would also be inappropriate.


Conditions of Practice Order


38)   The Panel concluded that a Conditions of Practice Order was also inappropriate. There are no conditions which are relevant, workable and proportionate that can properly be formulated which would address the identified failings of the Registrant or provide proper protection to the public. Moreover the Panel concluded that a Conditions of Practice order would be insufficient to sustain professional standards or to maintain confidence in the profession or the HCPC as its regulator.


Suspension.


39)   The offences were too serious to permit the Panel to deal with the matter by way of a suspension order. The Panel concluded that a suspension order, while protecting the public for the duration of the suspension, would be insufficient to sustain public confidence in the profession. This includes maintaining proper standards and acting as a deterrent to social workers. Furthermore, a suspension would not address the long-term risks of repetition.


Striking Off


40)    The Panel concluded that a striking off order was the only appropriate and proportionate sanction. It would provide protection to the public and sustain public confidence in the profession and its regulator. It would also emphasise the standards of conduct that can properly be expected of a social worker. The Registrant’s conduct which gave rise to her conviction and sentence and the conviction and sentence itself, are so serious as to make her continued presence on the Register untenable.

Order

Order:
That the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Miss Cedella Sadia Kenyon from the Register on the date this order comes into effect.

 
The order imposed today will apply from 1 August 2017.

Notes

 

Hearing history

History of Hearings for Miss Cedella Sadia Kenyon

Date Panel Hearing type Outcomes / Status
04/07/2017 Conduct and Competence Committee Final Hearing Struck off