On 25 August 2015, a health practitioner (Mr G) pleaded guilty to, and was convicted of, two representative charges and one further charge of performing an indecent act on a child under the age of 12 under the Crimes Act 1961. Of a possible 10 years imprisonment, Mr G was sentenced to three years imprisonment for the two representative charges, and 12 months (served concurrently) for the specific charge.
A Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) brought a charge alleging that the conviction reflected adversely on Mr G’s fitness to practice.
The Tribunal hearing
The Tribunal has now determined the penalty Mr G will face following that conviction. As part of their decision, and due to orders made by the Christchurch District Court in the criminal proceedings, the Tribunal has not only permanently prohibited the publication of the name and identifying details of the victim, but also the name, occupation, and other identifying details of Mr G. However the Tribunal did state that if the court ever permits publication the PCC may apply to the Tribunal for reconsideration of the publication orders.
The Tribunal’s decision does not include many details of the factual circumstances of the conviction. However the offending appears to be related to two young male victims and a period of offending of two years in relation to one boy, and two and a half in relation to the other. The Tribunal’s decision does state that the ‘behaviour’, described in the sentencing notes of the Judge as ‘habitual offending’, began around 2005/2006 when the older boy was about three or four. The particular offending occurred on multiple occasions between 2012 and 2014.
The Tribunal notes that the Judge described the contact between Mr G and the boys as ‘a deviant sexual interest in pre-pubescent boys’. However the judge also referred to Mr G as being a well-educated man, well-thought of in his profession, and a well-functioning member of society, and noted that the victims still held him in high esteem.
The Tribunal found that the conviction reflected adversely on Mr G’s fitness to practice and then had to consider the appropriate penalty.
The Tribunal was presented with a number of factors to consider when determining the appropriate penalty.
The aggravating factors included that the offending was:
The mitigating factors included:
Ultimately the Tribunal determined that Mr G’s registration should be cancelled, a move which Mr G himself recognised as ‘the only appropriate response to his offending’. The Tribunal also ordered that Mr G should:
This article was authored by Megan Neill, Solicitor in our Wellington office.