Mr Paul Hammond
The Respondent, Paul Andrew Hammond:
a. accepts the facts and matters set out below and consents to the Consent Order Panel of the Professional Conduct Committee making a disciplinary order against him in the terms set out below;
b. confirms that he has been offered the opportunity to appear before a Hearing Panel of the Professional Conduct Committee to present his case, but does not wish to do so.
The Architects Registration Board accepts the facts and matters set out below and consents to the Professional Conduct Committee making a disciplinary against Mr Paul Andrew Hammond in the terms set out below:
- The Allegation:
On 13 May 2013, at West Suffolk Magistrates’ Court, the Respondent was convicted upon indictment of an offence other than an offence which has no material relevance to his fitness to practise as an architect in that he was found guilty of four counts of sexual activity with a female child aged 13-17.
- Statement of agreed facts
- The Respondent was first registered as an architect on 23 September 2003.
The Conviction & Sentencing
On 13 May 2013, at West Suffolk Magistrates’ Court, the Respondent was convicted of four counts of sexual activity with a female child 13-17.
- The Respondent was sentenced in the Ipswich Crown Court to:
- Four concurrent sentences of 12 months imprisonment suspended for 24 months.
- Supervision for 24 months.
- Participate in a Sex Offender Treatment Programme. Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) for a period of 10 years under s.104 and 106 Sexual Offences Act 2003.
- Prohibited from
- having any unsupervised contact with any young female person under the age of 16 years, except in the presence of the parent or guardian of that child or other adult and they are aware of the previous convictions (save for any inadvertent or unavoidable contact with a child under 16 years); and
- sleeping or residing in any dwelling of a household where a female child or young person under the age of 16 years is also sleeping or residing except for his own children;
- The Respondent was found to have initiated four sexual incidents with a child between the ages of 13 and 17 in under one month. At the hearing at Ipswich Crown Court, Mr Recorder Atchley stated in his sentencing remarks that the Respondent’s conduct “came very close, in my view, to grooming; texts, the compliments to a suggestible and vulnerable young woman is what grooming is all about. Consent means nothing in a situation where the power base is so different, as it was here.”
Recorder Atchley went on to say:
“Your behaviour is not only criminal it has far reaching family and personal consequences. I doubt there’s anybody in your family who hasn’t been affected by this and for that you will carry the guilt for a very long time. I do think, and this is one of the reason [sic] why I am dealing with it in the way that I am, I do think that you have taken this matter very seriously; that is apparent from the fact that you’ve discussed it and have references to that effect before me; references which have impressed me. That said, [the victim] was vulnerable due to her age, you abused that trust …. in a totally unacceptable way.”
- The Respondent has engaged with the ARB, stating:
“Having disclosed truthfully and completely the events at the time of the offence I have been tried and convicted in a court of law and accept the findings of the judge.
Because of the nature of the conviction I resigned both as a Partner and an employee of the firm. However I stress that in no way had I compromised my professional role or that of the title of Architect and attach two character references that were submitted to the court, one from a principle partner in the company I worked for and the other from a client of the company at the time.
I will forever live with the consequences of my actions having lost a great deal: my family, my home and my livelihood. I spent a lot of time assessing what I had become and who I wanted to be. Realising architecture, and in particular building, is my sole destiny I contacted an architectural practice that I knew had no connection with school work and tended to concentrate on commercial projects.
I had disclosed fully my conviction to all the partners of the company before the interview process as well as informing the probation services and police about my intention of starting work to ensure I don’t breach any of the sentence requirements.,,
…In assessing my position within the practice and to protect myself and the company I have made it clear that I do not wish to seek any career progression or to be in direct contact with clients.
I have strived to continue to utilise my skills and experience in architecture, but have gone to great lengths to ensure I have done nothing to compromise the title of architect. I have successfully maintained this appropriate position in the company for nearly two years and attach a letter of support from the partners….
…I feel that the events in my private and personal life have in no way compromised my professional duties as an architect and I assure you that this remains the case.
Whilst I remain in the belief that I have not professionally compromised the title of Architect I’m also aware that your Complaints Committee is held in the public domain. I have constantly been advised by the authorities to protect myself and those around me from potential misguided reaction, therefore it is with deep regret that I have no course of action but to tender my resignation of my title as Architect forthwith.
I will ensure that the term of architect is removed from all my correspondence and will resign my membership of the RIBA.”
- Statement as to conviction for a criminal offence other than an offence which has no material relevance to his fitness to practise as an architect.
- The ARB and the Respondent agree that the offence for which the Respondent was convicted, as set out above, is one which has material relevance to his fitness to practise as an architect.
The Respondent has been convicted of a serious offence relating to four counts of engaging in sexual activity with a child who was a minor. The offence merited a suspended custodial sentence of 12 months. The Respondent has also been placed on the sex offenders register and has had restrictions placed upon him in relation to contact with females under 16.
In the light of the serious nature of the conviction above and in view of the risk that the Respondent, in carrying out his work, may present the Respondent’s conviction is materially relevant to his fitness to practise and a disciplinary order is necessary as set out under section 15(1)(a) of the Architects Act 1997.
- The Consent Order Panel of the Professional Conduct Committee, with the consent of the parties, and having taken account of its responsibilities to protect the public and maintain the reputation of the profession, makes the following disciplinary order:
- Erasure order pursuant to Section 15 of the Architects Act 1997.
The reasons are that the Respondent has been convicted of an offence which has material relevance to his fitness to practise as architect. The Respondent has been sentenced to a suspended custodial sentence and placed on the sex offenders register for ten years.
Architects are expected to uphold the rule of law. The Respondent has failed to uphold the rule of law and furthermore this serious conviction brings the architects profession into disrepute and undermines public confidence in the profession. As such, the Respondent has acted in a manner fundamentally incompatible with registration as an architect and an erasure order is the appropriate disciplinary order so as to safeguard the reputation of the profession and/or safeguard the public.