Paramedic who fondled patient in ambulance appeals conviction, as ban upheld (From The Northern Echo)
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Paramedic who fondled patient in ambulance appeals conviction, as ban upheld
A PARAMEDIC who admitted fondling a semi-conscious patient in the back of an ambulance has launched an appeal against his conviction.
William Mitchell pleaded guilty to a charge of misconduct in a public office earlier this month only after his legal team had tried unsuccessfully to have the accusation thrown out.
Barrister David Comb argued the charge should not apply to health service clinicians.
But Judge Christopher Prince, sitting at Durham Crown Court, ruled against him, the charge was admitted and Mitchell was bailed to be sentenced early next year.
The 57-year-old, of Dunscarr, Fencehouses, Wearside, was told he could be jailed for the offence.
However, he has now taken his case to the Court of Appeal.
No hearing date has yet been set but Judge Prince advised Mr Comb to seek a speedy hearing, as Mitchell is due back at Durham Crown Court to be sentenced on Friday, January 24.
The news comes as a ban on Mitchell working as a paramedic was extended for up to a further three months.
Meeting in London, an investigating committee of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) agreed to extend an interim suspension order first imposed in July.
In a decision statement, the panel said: “Public confidence in the profession would be undermined and there would be a risk to patients if Mr Mitchell was to be allowed to practise without restriction.
“Accordingly it still remains necessary for both the protection of public and in the public interest for there to be an interim order.
“In view of the serious nature of the offence Mr Mitchell has committed a suspension order remains appropriate and proportionate order as no conditions would be practicable or workable.”
The committee will review the suspension no later than March 20.
Mitchell, who is no longer working for the North East Ambulance Service, did not attend today’s hearing.
The offence took place on Thursday, April 18, after Mitchell and a colleague had picked up an unnamed woman from her home to take her to hospital.
The other crew member drove while Mitchell was left in the back to assist the patient, who the court heard was displaying volatile and rather bizarre behaviour.
But instead of helping her, Mitchell repeatedly fondled her breasts and placed her hand over his penis.
The incident was caught on CCTV footage.