A hospital pharmacy technician has been suspended from the register for eight months for his conviction for a sexual offence.
Moazzum Ahmed, registration number 5025840, “slowly and deliberately” pushed his groin against a female passenger on a London Underground train in June 2013, the General Pharmaceutical Council’s (GPhC) fitness-to-practise committee heard at a hearing that concluded on August 3.
The GPhC heard that Mr Ahmed was depressed at the time of the incident, and stressed that there was no "suggestion of improper conduct towards patients”.
But the committee said that the various versions of events that Mr Ahmed had alternated between suggested that he had “limited” insight into his actions.
Mr Ahmed was working as a pharmacy technician for the Moorfields Hospital NHS Trust in London when the incident occurred. As well as pushing his groin against the passenger, Mr Ahmed stood behind her so that the back of his hand was “brushing the back of her bare leg”, the GPhC heard.
He was subsequently removed from the train by a police officer, and was convicted of one offence of sexual assault in July 2013. He was ordered to pay a financial penalty, attend a sexual offenders treatment programme – which he completed later that year – and placed under the supervision of a probation officer for two years.
In evidence he submitted to the GPhC this year, Mr Ahmed said he was suffering from depression before the incident, and had started to notice “women who dressed in very revealing clothes" as a means of distracting himself from the problems in his life. He recognised that his actions were “clearly very wrong” and said he had "learned from this indiscretion”.
The GPhC also noted that Mr Ahmed made a “very frank” admission of a similar incident that occurred around a year before.
"Partial version of events"
Mr Ahmed previously told the GPhC that he felt he was being charged with “something I didn’t really do". In a letter to the regulator in 2013 he denied pushing his groin into the woman, but said he could "not afford £10,000 legal fees to plead not guilty”.
The regulator heard that Mr Ahmed only decided to admit the full offence to the magistrates' court two months after the incident, after he was shown CCTV footage. He also told a psychologist in 2014 that he had "been accused of more than actually occurred", the GPhC heard.
Mr Ahmed's differing version of events showed he was prepared to say whatever "suits his case", the GPhC said.
The regulator accepted that Mr Ahmed – who has since returned to work at the NHS trust – had shown “deep remorse” for his actions and expressed a wish to apologise to his victim. He had no prior disciplinary history, and the risk that he will commit a similar offence in future is "low", it said.
But the GPhC stressed Mr Ahmed had committed a “serious offence” that could “seriously undermine” public confidence in the profession. It ruled to suspend him for eight months, culminating in a review to determine whether he had completed his probation supervision and confirm there had been no further issues.
Read the full determination here.