| ||View Notice Of Allegation|
1. On 29 January 1981 at Reading Crown Court you were convicted of:
b. Taking a motor vehicle without consent.
2. For the offence at paragraphs 1 .a) you were detained at her Majesty's Pleasure
3. For the offence at 1 .b) you were given a 1 day concurrent prison sentence and had your driving licence endorsed.
4. On 24 April 2012 at Oxfordshire Magistrates' Court you were convicted of driving a motor vehicle with excess alcohol on 30 November 2010.
5. For the offence at paragraph 4 you were sentenced to a Community Order with a curfew requirement for 4 months, disqualified from driving for 28 months and ordered to pay costs of £1000.
6. You failed to declare the convictions at paragraphs 1 .a) and 1 .b) to the CPSM and Health Professions Council.
7. You failed to declare the convictions at paragraphs 1 .a) and 1 .b) to your employer, South Central Ambulance NHS Trust.
8. Your actions at paragraph 6 and paragraph 7 were dishonest
9 With regard to the conviction at paragraph 4, the motor vehicle you were driving was a Trust vehicle.
10. By reason of your convictions as set out at paragraphs 1-5 your fitness to practise as a paramedic is impaired.
11. The matters set out in paragraphs 6 - 9 constitute misconduct.
12. By reason of your misconduct your fitness to practise as a paramedic is impaired.
| ||View committee finding |
1. Mr King has neither attended this hearing nor been represented at it. The Panel is satisfied that he was been given proper notice that this hearing is due to take place. For administrative purposes the location of the hearing has been moved to the premises next door to the address stated in the notice of the hearing. At both 10:00am and again at 11:30am the Hearings Officer visited the address notified to see if Mr King had arrived, but discovered that he had not.
2. The Panel finds that all reasonable steps have been taken to notify Mr King of the hearing, and the consequence of that finding is that there is jurisdiction to consider whether the discretion to proceed in the absence of Mr King should be exercised. Having considered this matter the Panel has concluded that the hearing should proceed. From the HCPC file note recording Mr King’s contact on 19 July 2012 commenting on details of his case that he had seen on the HPC website, the Panel concludes that he knew of today’s hearing. As there has been no suggestion made by him that he would attend a hearing on another occasion, the Panel has decided that the clear public interest in an expeditious determination of the allegation outweighs the absence of Mr King.
3. Before the case was opened the Panel considered whether there were grounds upon which the hearing could or should be conducted in private, but concluded that there were no reasons why the normal course of a public hearing should not be followed.
4. Two allegations are made against Mr King. One is that his fitness to practise is impaired by reason of misconduct. The other is that his fitness to practise is impaired by reason of various criminal convictions.
5. When the matters underpinning these allegations came to light Mr King was employed as an Operations Manager employed by the South Central Ambulance Service NHS Trust (“the Trust”), originally Two Shires Ambulance NHS Trust. He began working for the Trust in 1995, qualified as a Paramedic in 1997 and was progressively promoted until he was appointed to the role of Operations Manager in August 2007. In this role he was provided with an unmarked Volvo car which was equipped for emergency response.
6. The initial allegation related to a drink driving incident in November 2010. Mr King’s previous convictions in 1981 for murder and taking a vehicle without consent were notified to the HPC by Thames Valley Police on 30 April 2012.
7. The HCPC alleges that Mr King failed to disclose the 1981 convictions to his employer and to his regulatory body.
Decision on Facts:
8. The Panel is satisfied that the witness statements and documentary exhibits introduced by the HCPC prove all of the facts advanced by the HCPC to the required standard, specifically:
a. That the murder and taking a motor vehicle without consent convictions were recorded against Mr King in 1981 (as alleged in paragraph 1 of the allegation), with the sentences alleged in paragraphs 2 and 3. These convictions are proved by the documents put before the Panel.
b. That Mr King failed to disclose the 1981 convictions to the HPC and its predecessor body the Council for the Professions Supplementary to Medicine (as alleged in paragraph 6 of the allegation) and failed to disclose them to the South Central Ambulance Service NHS Trust (paragraph 7 of the allegation), and that his failures in this regard were dishonest. Although some of the periodic application and renewal forms are no longer available, the Panel is satisfied that Mr King failed to disclose the convictions. This finding is based upon the number of occasions for which there is clear documentary evidence of a failure to disclose and the absence of the follow-up action that would be expected had they been disclosed. Furthermore, the failure to disclose such convictions was clearly dishonest by the standards of ordinary, decent people, and, particularly as the relevant forms made clear that convictions had to be disclosed however long ago they were recorded, the Panel is satisfied that Mr King knew that withholding the information was dishonest by reference to those standards.
c. That on 24 April 2012 he was convicted of the drink drive offence alleged in paragraph 4, was sentenced as alleged by paragraph 5 and furthermore at the time of the offence he was driving a South Central Ambulance Service NHS Trust vehicle as alleged in paragraph 9. Again, these matters are proved by the relevant documents included in the hearing bundle.
Decision on Grounds:
9. In relation to the convictions no further consideration of grounds are required. In relation to the matters advanced as misconduct the Panel has determined that they do indeed amount to misconduct. The failure to disclose was a repeated omission over a sustained period, and amounted to breaches committed towards both his employer and regulatory body. The HCPC’s Standards of Conduct Performance and Ethics require a registrant to keep high standards of personal conduct, to inform of important information about conduct, to behave with honesty and integrity and to make sure that his behaviour does not damage the public’s confidence in either himself or his profession. All these have been breached.
Decision on Impairment:
10. If the only matter being considered by the Panel was a failure to disclose a conviction for dishonestly taking a vehicle recorded many years ago when the registrant was a youth, then, despite the fact that it should undoubtedly have been disclosed, the passage of time might result in it no longer being an impairing factor. However, murder is an offence of the utmost gravity however long ago it was committed and however young the offender, and the failure to disclose this conviction was a very serious omission. The drink driving conviction, which involved driving with a blood alcohol content significantly in excess of three times the legal limit is a very serious offence, and particularly so in the case of a paramedic who should be acutely aware of the consequences of such action. In short the Panel concludes that the convictions relied upon and the misconduct established are both currently impairing Mr King’s fitness to practise.
11. The consequence of these findings is that both the conviction allegation and the misconduct allegation are well founded with the consequence that the Panel must proceed to consider the issue of sanction.
Decision on Sanction:
12. Since announcing the decision that the allegations are well founded the Panel again sat in public session to hear further submissions on sanction. On behalf of the HCPC Ms Taheri reminded the Panel of the proper purpose of a sanction and of the available sanctions.
13. The Panel approaches this issue on the basis that a sanction should not be imposed to punish. Rather a sanction should only be imposed to the extent that it is required to protect the public and to maintain a proper degree of confidence in the Paramedic profession and in this regulatory process. To ensure that these principles have been applied the Panel first considered whether any sanction is required at all. Having determined that it is, the Panel then considered the available sanctions in an ascending order of gravity.
14. As just stated, the Panel has considered all the possible sanctions and has done so from the least restrictive. Having done so the Panel has concluded that the only sanction that will maintain a sufficient degree of public confidence in the Paramedic profession and which reflects the gravity of the matters found proved is a striking-off order.
| ||View committee order|
That the Registrar is directed to strike the name of Robert King from the Register on the date this order comes into effect.
| ||View notes|
This is a 1 day final hearing.