The General Teaching Council for Scotland

General Teaching Council for Scotland Fitness to Teach Panel Outcome

Procedural Meeting

June 2019

 Teacher Teacher C (not present)
 Registration Number XXXXXX
 Registration category Secondary - Geography
 Panel Lily Proudfoot, Peter Rankin and David Tierney
 Legal Assessor Julie McKinlay
 Servicing Officer Kirsty McIntosh
 Teacher's representative Andrew Faux (Counsel) and Sarah Linden (Solicitor) (in attendance)

Any reference in this decision to:

  • "GTCS" means the General Teaching Council for Scotland
  • the "Panel" means the Fitness to Teach Panel considering the case
  • the "Rules" (and any related expression) means the GTCS Fitness to Teach and Appeals Rules 2012 or refers to a provision (or provisions) within them

Background

The Procedural Hearing was arranged to consider the following applications:

  1. Full Hearing to be held in private
  2. Anonymity of the Teacher
  3. Vulnerable Witness application in respect of the Teacher
  4. Vulnerable Witness application in respect of Witness D
  5. For the names of the witnesses to be anonymised in the final decision
  6. Vulnerable witness application in respect of Witness A
  7. Admissibility of Evidence
  8. Application for Specific Disclosure of Information
  9. For late evidence to be admitted
  10. To issue Case Management Directions in respect of the Full Hearing (not insisted upon)

Evidence

In accordance with rule 1.7.17, the Panel admitted all of the documents and statements listed below as evidence for the purposes of the hearing:

P1 Presenting Officer written applications
P2 Presenting Officer response to Teacher applications
P3 Presenting Officer list of authorities
P4 Teacher written applications
P5 Teacher response to Presenting Officer applications (email from S Linden, dated 5 June 2019)
P6 Notice of Procedural Hearing Response Form
P7 Notice of Procedural Hearing and email delivery/read receipts

The Panel accepted the following documents late:

P8 Letter from Health and Social Care Partnership, dated 19 June 2019
P9 Letter from GP, dated 21 June 2019
P10 Letter from witness
P11 Statement of Mother A
P12 Statement of Witness C
P13 Statement of Father A
P14 GTCS Investigation Report
P15 Messages and Facebook Communications
P16 Statement of Witness A

Preliminary matters

The Presenting Officer made the following preliminary application which the Panel required to consider at the outset of the Procedural Hearing:

  1. For the Procedural Hearing to be held in private.

The Panel heard submissions from the Presenting Officer in support of the application and the Teacher’s representative in reply. The Teacher’s representative did not oppose the application. The Teacher’s representative submitted that to do otherwise than to hear the Procedural Hearing in private would defeat the purpose of many of the applications which were before the Panel to be determined at this Procedural Hearing.

Decision on the preliminary application

The Panel decided that the Procedural Hearing should be held in private. In making the decision the Panel considered Rules 1.7.2 and 1.7.3 as well as the Privacy and Anonymity Practice Statement. The starting point was rule 1.7.2 which sets out that hearings will be heard in public. This is the default position. However, Rule 1.7.3 provides that:

‘A Panel may, at any stage in proceedings on its own initiative or an application to it, make an order with a view to preventing or restricting the public disclosure of any aspect of proceedings. A Panel may do this so far as it considers it necessary where it is satisfied (having given the relevant parties the opportunity to make representations and in compliance with all relevant Convention Rights) that it is in the interests of justice to do so and the particular circumstances of the case outweigh the interests of the Teacher and the public in the hearing being held in public…..’

The Panel acknowledged that in respect of the majority of the applications to be determined at the Procedural Hearing, sensitive information of a sexual nature and more particularly information concerning the health of the Teacher and other participants was to be discussed. The applications requested the Panel to consider such matters as anonymity and vulnerable witness status for various participants. The Panel agreed that to proceed with this hearing in public would defeat the purpose of many of the applications. It was, in the circumstances, in the interests of justice for the Procedural Hearing to be held in private and that in the circumstances this outweighed the interests of the public in the Procedural Hearing being held in public.
 
The Teacher’s representative made the following preliminary application:

  1. For the admission of late papers for consideration at the Procedural Hearing

In particular,  the Teacher’s representative sought to have the Panel admit the following:

  1. a letter from [information redacted] dated 19 June 2019
  2. a letter from [information redacted] of Witness D
  3. a letter from Witness D

The Teacher’s representative submitted that the documents were only available after the deadline for submission of papers for the Procedural Hearing. The letter from Witness D and [information redacted] were requested in direct response to observations by the Presenting Officer that the information provided in support of the application concerning [information redacted] was, in the view of the Presenting Officer, insufficient. All of the late papers had been sent to the GTCS in advance of the Procedural Hearing. The Presenting Officer was not opposed to the application.

Decision on the preliminary application

In reaching their decision the Panel had regard to Rule 1.7.17 in the following terms:   ‘Subject to the requirements of relevance and fairness, a Panel may admit oral, documentary or other evidence, whether or not such evidence would be admissible in civil or criminal proceedings in the United Kingdom.’   In addition, the Panel had regard to rule 1.7.22 in the following terms;   ‘Where a party seeks to present evidence and-
 
  1. has failed to comply with any direction for service of evidence given under these rules; and
  2. has shown no good cause for failure to comply with the direction given,
 
a Panel may refuse to allow that party to admit the evidence in question.’
  Having heard the submissions of the parties the Panel decided that it was fair and relevant to admit the late papers. The papers had only been available to the Teacher’s representative after the deadline of submission to the GTCS and the GTCS had had sight of the papers in advance of the Procedural Hearing and as soon as they were available. As such there was good cause shown as to why the papers had not been available earlier. 

 

Applications and Submissions

During the course of the Procedural Hearing the Panel was invited to consider the following applications:

  1. Full Hearing to be held in private in full
  2. Anonymity of the Teacher
  3. Vulnerable Witness application in respect of the Teacher
  4. Vulnerable Witness application in respect of Witness D
  5. For the names of the witnesses to be anonymised in the final decision
  6. Vulnerable witness application in respect of Witness A
  7. Admissibility of Evidence
  8. Application for Specific Disclosure of Information
  9. For late evidence to be admitted

The Panel heard submissions from each of the parties in respect of each application as well as having regard to the written submissions in relation to each application submitted by the parties in advance of the Procedural Hearing. The order in which the applications were heard by the Panel was altered for the sake of efficiency. On day one of the hearing the Panel heard application 1, followed by applications 3, 4,  6, 2 and 5. On day two the Panel heard the applications 7, 8 and 9 in order.

Decisions and Reasons of the Panel

Application 1

The Presenting Officer made the application that the Full Hearing be held in private. In particular, the Presenting Officer considered that it was in the interests of justice to do so given the medical evidence likely to be led in the course of the Full Hearing and that the allegations related to the private sexual relationship of the Teacher and a former pupil. The Teacher’s representative was not opposed to the Full Hearing being held in private although he queried the basis of the application and submitted that in the event it was the view of the GTCS that the subject matter was that of an essentially private relationship he was unclear as to why that would be the subject of a Fitness to Teach Panel at all.

The Panel considered the written and oral submissions of the parties. The Panel also had the benefit, before reaching their decision, of hearing the parties’ submissions on the applications as to the vulnerability of the witnesses (including the Teacher) and the nature and extent of the health matters which would be a feature of the Full Hearing.

The Panel decided that the Full Hearing should be held in private in full. In making the decision the Panel considered Rules 1.7.2 and 1.7.3 as well as the Privacy and Anonymity Practice Statement. The starting point was Rule 1.7.2 which sets out that hearings will be heard in public. This is the default position. However, Rule 1.7.3 provides that:

 ‘A Panel may, at any stage in proceedings on its own initiative or an application to it, make an order with a view to preventing or restricting the public disclosure of any aspect of proceedings. A Panel may do this so far as it considers it necessary where it is satisfied (having given the relevant parties the opportunity to make representations and in compliance with all relevant Convention Rights) that it is in the interests of justice to do so and the particular circumstances of the case outweigh the interests of the Teacher and the public in the hearing being held in public.
Such orders may include (but will not be limited to)-

  1. an order that a hearing be conducted (in whole or in part) in private.’

The Panel also had regard to the Privacy and Anonymity Practice Statement. The Panel noted the requirements of Article 10 and Article 6. The Panel also noted that there are exceptions to the general rule that the hearings will be in public which include where the protection of the private life of the parties so require. In that regard the terms of Article 8 are relevant. In addition, where the intimate or sensitive details of the physical or mental health of the Teacher or a witness are to be raised as part of the case, this may justify holding part or all of the hearing in private.

In the course of considering other applications, the Panel had decided that the Teacher and the witness with whom he is alleged to have had a relationship should be regarded as vulnerable witnesses. The measure in each case adopted by the Panel was that their evidence would be heard in private. In addition, the remaining witnesses included a Doctor who will speak almost exclusively about the health of the former pupil and the parents of that pupil who will speak largely about her health or matters of an intimate sexual nature.

For these reasons it was anticipated that almost all of the evidence would, even if the Full Hearing was in public, in any event be heard in private.

In the view of the Panel, given the very small aspects of the case which would be public, it was in the interests of justice that the Full Hearing be held in private. The public interest would not be served by hearing very limited matters in public with the vast majority of the evidence being in private. It was ultimately the view of the Panel that the interests of justice outweighed the public interest in the circumstances.

Application 3

The Teacher’s representative made an application to treat the Teacher as a vulnerable witness. This was on the basis that the Teacher has [information redacted] and the quality of his evidence was likely to be diminished as a result.

In the event that the Panel determined that the Teacher should be treated as vulnerable the measure proposed in order to hear the evidence was that the evidence be heard in private.

The Presenting Officer did not oppose the application and considered it a matter for the Panel.

The Panel considered the written and oral submissions of the parties. The Panel decided that the Teacher should be treated as a vulnerable witness and that the appropriate measure to be adopted was that his evidence be heard in private.

In reaching their decision the Panel had regard to Rule 1.7.29 which is in the following terms:

‘A Panel may of its own volition or on the application of any party, treat as vulnerable:
..
      b) any witness whose quality of evidence is likely to be diminished for any of the following reasons
                                   i. he/she has a mental disorder’

The Panel also had regard to the Health Matters and Medical Evidence Practice Statement. In particular, the Practice Statement provides that the medical evidence should take the form of an appropriately detailed letter from a medical practitioner setting out a specific diagnosis, the severity of the condition, a specific explanation of how the condition impacts upon attendance at the hearing or engagement in the process as well as any reasonable adjustments proposed to facilitate attendance or engagement, the treatment and prognosis.

The Panel considered the medical evidence in relation to the Teacher and in particular, the detailed letters dated 20 February and 19 June 2019 from Medical Professional B. The evidence confirmed that the Teacher had [information redacted]. The Teacher had [information redacted]. The medical evidence was such that Medical Professional B was of the view that the quality of the evidence to be given by the Teacher was likely to be diminished and his ability to participate adversely affected by his [information redacted] and in the event he was required to give evidence in public his health would be significantly affected.

The Panel was accordingly satisfied that the test set out in rule 1.7.29 was met and further that in accordance with rule 1.7.30 the measure that is considered necessary is that the evidence of the Teacher be heard in private.

Further, the Panel noted the terms of rule 1.7.3 which provides that;

‘unless a Panel orders otherwise, any vulnerable witness referred to in the proceedings will be subject to the measures specified at (b) and (c).’

Rule 1.7.3. (b) and (c) provide for an order ‘that the identities of specified parties, witnesses or other persons referred to in the proceedings should not be disclosed at such proceedings to the public (by use of anonymisation or otherwise) and whether before, during or after those proceeding’; and for ‘measures seeking to prevent witnesses at a public hearing being identifiable by members of the public.’

The Presenting Officer was opposed to the anonymisation of the Teacher even in the event that he was to be treated as a vulnerable witness. A separate application had been made by the Teacher’s representative for the anonymisation of the Teacher. As such the Panel decided to reserve their position until that application had been heard, as to whether rule 1.7.3 (b) and (c) ought to be applied to the Teacher or whether they should order otherwise.

Application 4

The Teacher’s representative made an application to treat the witness (Witness D) as a vulnerable witness. This was on the basis that the witness [information redacted] and the quality of her evidence was likely to be diminished as a result.

In the event that the Panel determined that the witness should be treated as vulnerable the measure proposed in order to hear the evidence was that the evidence be heard in private.

The Presenting Officer did not oppose the application and considered it a matter for the Panel.

The Panel considered the written and oral submissions of the parties. The Panel decided that the witness should not be treated as a vulnerable witness.

In reaching their decision the Panel had regard to Rule 1.7.29 which is in the following terms:

‘A Panel may of its own volition or on the application of any party, treat as vulnerable:
..
        b) any witness whose quality of evidence is likely to be diminished for any of the following reasons
                             i. he/she has a mental disorder’

The Panel also had regard to the Health Matters and Medical Evidence Practice Statement. In particular, the Practice Statement provides that the medical evidence should take the form of an appropriately detailed letter from a medical practitioner setting out a specific diagnosis, the severity of the condition, a specific explanation of how the condition impacts upon attendance at the hearing or engagement in the process as well as any reasonable adjustments proposed to facilitate attendance or engagement, the treatment and prognosis.

The Panel considered the medical evidence in relation to the witness being an email from [information redacted] dated 15 February and a follow up letter dated 21 June 2019. In addition, the Panel had before them a letter from the witness.
 
The GP considers that the witness has [information redacted]. The GP noted that she has being doing well. The GP considered that the witness would be assisted if her evidence was in private. The letter from the GP did however express the view that it was being advised that her name would be disclosed publically after the hearing that had caused significant distress to the witness and in the view of the GP would affect her condition. The Panel noted that in fact as a witness her name would not be disclosed in the written decision. The Panel considered that the letter from the witness whilst disclosing some understandable stress at the thought of giving evidence appeared as concerns as to her reputation and professional prospects which were not relevant factors to the Panel in reaching their decision.

Whilst it may be so that a private hearing of her evidence would assist her to give her best evidence the Panel did not consider that they had before them sufficient evidence that her evidence would be adversely affected as a consequence [information redacted]. Rather what was described appeared to the Panel to be the entirely normal anxieties that giving evidence might bring. 

The Panel was accordingly not satisfied that the test set out in rule 1.7.29.

It ought to be observed that given that the Panel has decided that the Full Hearing will be in private the witness will in fact give her evidence in private. In addition, in line with the Publication Policy of the GTCS, the names of the witnesses will not be published in the written decision.

Application 6

The Presenting Officer made an application to treat the witness (Witness A) as a vulnerable witness. This was on the basis that the allegations are of a sexual nature and the witness is the alleged victim. In addition, the witness has [information redacted] and the quality of her evidence was likely to be diminished as a result.

In the event that the Panel determined that the witness should be treated as vulnerable the measure proposed in order to hear the evidence was that the evidence be heard in private.

The Teacher’s representative did not oppose the application and indeed considered the application appropriate in the circumstances.

The Panel considered the written and oral submissions of the parties. The Panel decided that the witness should not be treated as a vulnerable witness.

In reaching their decision the Panel had regard to Rule 1.7.29 which is in the following terms:
                         ‘A Panel may of its own volition or on the application of any party, treat as vulnerable:
                          ..
                         b) any witness whose quality of evidence is likely to be diminished for any of the following reasons
                                       i. he/she has a mental disorder,..
                                      iii. the allegation(s) is/are of a sexual and/or violent nature and he/she is an alleged victim’

The Panel also had regard to the Health Matters and Medical Evidence Practice Statement. In particular, the Practice Statement provides that the medical evidence should take the form of an appropriately detailed letter from a medical practitioner setting out a specific diagnosis, the severity of the condition, a specific explanation of how the condition impacts upon attendance at the hearing or engagement in the process as well as any reasonable adjustments proposed to facilitate attendance or engagement, the treatment and prognosis.

For the purposes of the application the Panel invited the Presenting Officer to produce the witness statement of Witness C on whom the GTCS relied in respect of the medical basis for the application. This was not opposed and the Panel had sight of the statement. The Panel noted that the statement was dated 16 June 2017. No up to date medical evidence was before the Panel and whilst the Panel had been advised that the health of the witness was not good, there was no evidence before the Panel which would meet the requirements of the relevant Practice Statement.

In any event it was clear to the Panel, that having regard to the information provided by Witness C in 2017 as to the health of the witness at the time of the allegations and the fact that the witness was the alleged victim in relation to the allegations of a sexual nature and would therefore have to speak of such matters, that the quality of her evidence in relation to these matters is likely to be diminished.

The Panel was accordingly satisfied that the test set out in rule 1.7.29 was met and further that in accordance with rule 1.7.30 the measure that is considered necessary and should be adopted by the Panel is that the evidence of the witness be heard in private.

Application 2

The Teacher’s representative made an application for anonymity for the Teacher. The application was opposed. The application was made on the basis that it could not be assumed that the Panel would be prepared to grant the Presenting Officer’s application for the hearing to be in private in whole.

The Panel did have before them the submissions of the parties. The Panel considered that the application had been largely superseded by the Panel’s decision to hear the Full Hearing in private. That decision had the effect of resulting in the anonymisation of the Teacher prior to and during the conduct of the Full Hearing. The issue which remained was accordingly whether the Teacher should be granted anonymity after the Full Hearing and in the publication of the written decision.

In that regard the Panel considered the terms of Rule 1.7.2 and Rule 1.7.3 and the Privacy and Anonymity Practice Statement. The Practice Statement provides that the bar for granting an application for anonymity of the Teacher is high since it is an interference with Article 10 rights of the public. It is a more serious step to take than holding a hearing in private and so a Panel will require to be satisfied that cogent reasons have been put forward for such an order to be granted and no other steps can be taken short of anonymity to achieve the same result.

Given that the only question is as to the anonymisation of the Teacher after the Full Hearing, the Panel consider that the decision as to whether to grant such an application should properly be taken by the Panel that hears and determines the Full Hearing. They will be best placed to carry out the balancing exercise required.

Having decided to proceed in that manner the Panel decided that they would not order otherwise than the application of rule 1.7.3 (b) and (c) to the Teacher as a vulnerable witness but only to the extent that these provisions applied both before and during the Full Hearing.  The issue of anonymity after the Full Hearing was a matter for the Full Hearing Panel.

Application 5

The Presenting Officer made an application for the names of the witnesses to be anonymised in the written decision. The Presenting officer accepted that the Publication Policy stated in terms that the witnesses would not be identified. The Presenting officer clarified that her application was intended to address a situation in which, in the event that the Full Hearing was conducted in public that the identities of the witnesses (but not Witness C) would lead to the identity of a witness who has been given vulnerable witness status and so would not otherwise be identified.

The Teacher’s representative considered that the same might be true of Witness D.

Given that the Panel decided that the Full Hearing would be held in private, there was no need for this application and no decision upon it required. None of the witnesses would be publically identified in the course of the Full Hearing.

Application 7

The Teacher’s representative made an application challenging the admissibility of evidence. In particular, the Teacher’s representative challenged three aspects of the evidence sought to be presented by the GTCS:

  1. the GTCS Investigation Report
  2. witness statements from Mother A, Father A and Witness C
  3. Facebook communications, messages and images

The application was opposed by the Presenting Officer.

The Panel heard oral submissions from the parties and had before them the written submissions of the parties. On day 1, the Teacher’s representative had been made aware that the Panel had not been provided with the bundle prepared for the Full Hearing and as such had not had sight of the statements of Witness A, Mother A, Father A, the GTCS Investigation Report and the Facebook and other messages. The Teacher’s representative advised the Panel that it would not be possible to consider the application regarding admissibility without these documents. The Presenting Officer had no objection to the Panel having these documents before them. The Panel was provided with the documents at the end of day 1. The Panel had regard to the documents in reaching their decision.

The Panel had regard to Rule 1.7.17 which is in the following terms;

‘Subject to the requirements of relevance and fairness, a Panel may admit oral, documentary or other evidence, whether or not such evidence would be admissible in civil or criminal proceedings in the United Kingdom’

The Panel also had regard to the Findings in Fact Practice Statement and in particular, the section on ‘Admissibility of Evidence’ and ‘Hearsay’. The Panel noted that hearsay evidence is admissible in fitness to teach proceedings. In addition, the Practice Statement provides that ‘submissions, speeches or views on the evidence made by the parties aren’t evidence.’

GTCS Investigation Report

In relation to the GTCS Investigation Report the Panel considered that this report was not evidence for the purposes of the Fitness to Teach Full Hearing and that it was not relevant or fair in any event to admit it. The Investigation Report was in essence a document generated by the GTCS which was akin to a submission by them as to the allegations, evidence and decision to proceed and was accordingly not evidence which should be properly admitted.

The Statements of Mother A, Father A and Witness C

The Panel noted that there were some aspects of these statements which was hearsay evidence but in the view of the Panel, the statements were largely the experiences of the witnesses with Witness A around the time of the allegations and since. The Panel did not consider that simply because Witness A was to give evidence that that was sufficient reason to exclude the hearsay evidence of others. The Panel was required to consider if the evidence was relevant and fair.

The Panel considered each of the statements in turn by addressing each paragraph and determining whether the terms of the statements should be admitted having regard for the need for the evidence to be relevant and fair.

In relation to the statement of Mother A the Panel considered the content to be relevant and fair but for the following:

  1. In paragraph 14 the words ‘I used to say …questioning’ should be redacted. These comments appeared to relate to the alleged conduct of the Teacher during a period prior to the period with which the allegations are concerned and it would therefore not be relevant or fair to admit them.
  2. In paragraph 17 the words ‘I’m angry…answer’ should be redacted. These comments appear to usurp the function of the Panel in addressing the fitness or otherwise of the Teacher to teach.

In relation to the statement of Father A the Panel considered the content to be relevant and fair but for the following:

  1. Paragraphs 13 and 14 should be redacted as these appear to be an attempt to usurp the function of the Panel and are unfair to the Teacher. The redaction of these paragraphs was in any event agreed by the Presenting Officer.

In relation to the statement of Witness C the Panel considered the content to be relevant and fair but for the following:

  1. Paragraph 12 should be redacted as this is not considered to be relevant (being concerned with matters before the period with which the allegations are concerned) nor fair to the Teacher.

Facebook communications, messages and images 

The Panel did consider having regard to the messages that they, on the face of it, appeared relevant to the allegations. However, the Panel considered that they should hear the submissions in relation to application 8 which related to the messages and the concerns raised by the Teacher’s representative before determining their admissibility.

The Panel proceeded to hear submissions in respect of application 8.

Thereafter the Panel decided to reserve meantime determination of application 7 in respect of the admissibility of the social media messages. The Panel consider that the question of the relevance and fairness of admitting those messages is best determined once there have been full enquiries made as to the availability of the full social media communications and the provenance of those messages. In the event that the social media communications are not available the Presenting Officer should let the Teachers representative know in reasonable time to allow the Teacher’s representative to invite a Panel to consider their application regarding the admissibility of the existing messages. 

Application 8

The Teacher’s representative made an application for an order for specific disclosure of information. In particular, the Teacher’s representative sought an order:

  1. that the Presenting Officer identify who she has made enquiries of in respect of requested documents and when those enquiries were made;
  2. that the Panel impose a specific disclosure order upon the Presenting Officer and her witnesses that they disclose any and all relevant evidence relating to the allegations against the Teacher in their possession in the next 28 days; and
  3. that where such missing communications, messages or images are not within the possession of the Presenting Officer or her witnesses they provide written confirmation to the GTCS of the same.

The Teacher’s representative was invited by the legal assessor to confirm under what rule or statutory provision the Panel had the power to make such an order and in the terms sought. The Teacher’s representative accepted that there was no such specific power but that the Panel was required to have regard to the general objective and as such to deal with cases fairly and justly.

The Teacher’s representative also submitted that the Presenting Officer had, during the course of the Procedural Hearing, set out what efforts had been made and whom she had made enquiries of in relation to documents.

In the course of the hearing the Presenting Officer had indeed made clear that she had attempted to retrieve information from Police Scotland and both parties were agreed that this route was unlikely to bear fruit. The Presenting Officer had been in contact with the investigating officer at the relevant local authority to ascertain if further information was available. They had not managed to speak as at the date of the hearing. There was no dispute that the GTCS had made available what they had but that there may indeed be more communications available from the local authority.

The Panel considered that in fairness to the Teacher best efforts should be made by the GTCS to make all those social media communications available to the Teacher’s representatives. The Panel accordingly invited the Presenting Officer to use best efforts as soon as possible to obtain the social media communications held by the local authority.
 
The Panel did not consider that the Rules permitted an order or Case Management Direction to be made but would expect that the Presenting Officer would use her best endeavours to make such enquiries and retrieve any information available.

Application 9

The Teacher’s representative made an application for the admission of late papers for the Full Hearing.

In particular,  the Teacher’s representative sought to have the Panel admit the following:

  1. a character testimonial from [name redacted];
  2. a character testimonial from [name redacted];
  3. a character testimonial from [name redacted];and
  4. a character testimonial from [name redacted].

The Teacher’s representative submitted that the documents were only available after the deadline for submission of papers for the Full Hearing. They are character references and as such relevant for the purposes of the Full Hearing. The Presenting Officer was not opposed to the application.
 
In reaching their decision the Panel had regard to Rule 1.7.17 in the following terms:
 
 ‘Subject to the requirements of relevance and fairness, a Panel may admit oral,  documentary or other evidence, whether or not such evidence would be admissible in civil  or criminal  proceedings in the United Kingdom.’
 
In addition, the Panel had regard to rule 1.7.22 in the following terms:
 
 ‘Where a party seeks to present evidence and-

  1. has failed to comply with any direction for service of evidence given under these rules; and
  2. has shown no good cause for failure to comply with the direction given,

 a Panel may refuse to allow that party to admit the evidence in question.’

Having heard the submissions of the parties the Panel decided that it was fair and relevant to admit the late papers. The papers had only been available to the Teacher’s representative after the deadline of submission to the GTCS. As such there was good cause shown as to why the papers had not been available earlier.