A paramedic has been struck off after repeatedly sharing private sexual photographs of a woman online and for breaching a restraining order and a suspended sentence.
Gary Ellis, who served with East Midlands Ambulance Service for 20 years, was convicted on two occasions of sharing intimate photos/videos between April 2020 and February 2021.
He was also found guilty of harassment, breaching a restraining order and breaching a suspended sentence.
A Health and Care Professions (HCPC) tribunal panel found that Ellis’s fitness to practise impaired and made a striking-off order.
The tribunal also heard how Ellis failed to inform his line manager of his arrest ‘as soon as possible.’
The panel said:
‘The public is entitled to expect members of the profession to behave with decency, honesty and integrity, all of which qualities were conspicuously lacking in the registrant’s conduct towards the victim of his criminal behaviour.
‘In the panel’s judgement, the registrant’s misconduct was so serious as to be incompatible with his remaining on the register.’
Nottinghamshire Police arrested Ellis on 6th April 2020 on suspicion of harassment and disclosure of private sexual photographs and films on social media with the intent to cause distress to another.
The panel heard how, on the 13th of April, Ellis informed his line manager about the arrest.
On 21st October, at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court, Ellis was convicted of harassment and disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress.
He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, but the sentence was suspended for 24 months. He was also given a five-year restraining order from contacting the victim.
In February 2021, Ellis was arrested for a second time after he posted sexual photographs and videos involving the same victim on the internet.
This also constituted a breach of the restraining order.
In March, he was convicted of the two offences. He was also found to have breached his suspended sentence.
He was jailed for 2.5 years and given an indefinite restraining order.
In April 2021, a disciplinary hearing took place to decide whether the convictions and his delay in disclosing his arrest to his manager impaired his fitness to practise as a paramedic.
On 8th April, two days after his arrest, Ellis called in sick, claiming he had ‘gastrointestinal problems.’
The panel found all allegations to be proved but ruled that his calling in sick had not been dishonest.
Publishing its findings, an HCPC panel said:
‘The registrant had demonstrated a pattern of behaviour amounting to harassment and sexual misconduct by posting sexual photographs and films against the injured party.
‘His behaviour was targeted against that individual and was intended to cause her distress.
‘The registrant’s harassment and sexual misconduct against the victim continued despite a restraining order imposed by the court and in breach of a suspended prison sentence.’
The panel added: ‘The registrant has provided no evidence of remorse, insight, reflection or remediation.
‘He has expressed no awareness of, or regret for, any harm caused to the injured party or the reputational damage caused to his colleagues, his employer or the profession at large.’
Addressing the delay in disclosing his arrest, the panel said:
‘The registrant’s dishonesty in withholding information as to his arrest…only came to light when he realised that he could no longer conceal the fact that his work laptop had been seized by the police.
‘His dishonest concealment of his arrest was intended to avoid damaging his employment status with the Trust and was therefore for personal gain.
‘In the panel’s judgement, although the registrant’s misconduct did not directly put service users at risk of harm, his criminal convictions and misconduct were so serious that members of the public would hesitate to call upon a paramedic for assistance if they were aware that a paramedic with such a criminal record were permitted to be registered as a member of the profession.
‘Public protection was thereby undermined by the registrant.’
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