Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Life

Northern Ireland ambulance man tricked woman into showing breasts

By John Toner

A paramedic has been booted out of the profession for conning a female boxer into exposing her breasts during a pre-fight check.

Paul Hardy, a former Northern Ireland Ambulance Service paramedic, asked the victim to remove her bra under the guise of carrying out "baseline observations" on April 16, 2016.

A Health and Care Professionals Council tribunal hearing was told that despite the "obvious" discomfort of the woman - a health professional herself - Hardy had her expose her breasts for 30 to 45 seconds while carrying out a rib flex test.

The "nervous" female boxer did not object to the bizarre examination and behaviour because she was keen to take part in the charity event and was under the impression the assessment was a requirement to do so.

In attempting to justify his actions, Hardy told the tribunal he was assessing the woman for "chest asymmetry" and was being thorough in his examination because he wanted to improve safety in the "dangerous and unregulated" sport of charity boxing.

But panel chairman Mrs Marian Killen said: "The panel has drawn the inference that, on the balance of probabilities, the registrant was sexually motivated in his action.

"The witnesses the registrant examined were misled and the registrant has acknowledged he worked outside his scope of practice.

"The panel found that the registrant was not able to properly and coherently explain his decision to conduct the examination and his explanations for the examination did not make professional sense.

"The panel, exercising its own professional judgement, found that the registrant's conduct could be described by fellow practitioners as deplorable.

"There is no evidence that Mr Hardy clearly understands the behaviour that led to the finding of misconduct.

"The panel has found that he has very limited insight and does not appear to have fully recognised that what he did was wrong."

The woman made a complaint to the Health and Care Professionals Council after she discovered another female boxer had refused to take off her bra but went on to compete.

Hardy failed to attend the final hearing but was represented by a solicitor who pleaded with the panel not to strike off his client.

He said: "The registrant was the sole earner and supported his family... he expects a shortfall in his annual income.

"He faces the stigma and shame of the finding of this panel and has concerns about his personal safety."

Hardy, from Ballymena, was struck off by the panel.

He has until July 12 to lodge an appeal with the High Court.

Belfast Telegraph

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