NEWS HR

Justice Mathew Downs, at the High Court in Auckland, cleared a sex offender’s criminal record after he argued he should be able to work in a rest home. A former teacher convicted of sex crimes against a 12-year-old boy over 30 years ago has won the right to have his criminal record cleared, in a precedent-setting case. The man, who has not been convicted of any other offences since, fought for his name to be cleared in an effort to gain employment as an older people’s carer. The Criminal Records Act, otherwise known as the Clean Slate Act, allows people to conceal convictions dating back seven years or more – providing they aren’t serious offences and didn’t result in jail time. In 2014, a decade since the Bill was passed, more than 100,000 people have had their convictions wiped. However, no case declined in the District Court has ever been successfully appealed to the High Court. The offending in the man’s case dated back to 1986, when he volunteered at a children’s camp where he met the young boy. During that time, the man repeatedly abused the child, which involved forcing him to touch his genitals. He told the boy what they were doing was “entirely natural” and they were “not doing anything wrong”. He was convicted for that offending 10 years later after details of the abuse was reported to police. When spoken to by police, the man admitted he had formed a relationship with the victim but said it was limited to kissing only. He further admitted a fascination with “man-boy” love relationships. He pleaded guilty to the abuse and was given a 18-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and a term of community service. A suspended service means a person is only sent to prison if they offend again or break certain conditions. The man did not reoffend and after a career in another field, he decided he wanted to work in the elderly care sector. This led him to apply for his conviction to be disregarded last year in the District Court. During that hearing, a psychiatrist told the court the man posed a “low risk of re-offending” and work in a rest home would be a “low-risk environment”. That application was declined – with the District Court judge ruling “low risk is not no risk” and said potential employers should know about his past convictions when deciding to employ him. The man appealed the decision in the High Court. Justice Mathew Downs received affidavits from four different elderly care facilities who said they would not employ someone like the man due to his criminal convictions, irrespective of expert opinion. “It is highly likely [the man] will not be able to work in the aged care sector unless his criminal record is concealed,” Justice Downs stated. “[The man] appears otherwise suitable for this type of work.” The New Zealand police asked the judge to pay attention to the fact the man had travelled to Thailand twice – a country known for sex tourism. The judge noted that the obvious risk to allowing the man to do rest home work was him being exposed young children visiting relatives. In his judgement, Justice Downs said he had to balance the likelihood of reoffending against the hardship being faced by the applicant. The judge said the man was “fortunate” to not have been sentenced to prison at the time, which would have ruled him out of applying for a clean slate. “The case is on the cusp,” Justice Downs judgement read. “… It is highly likely [the man] will not be able to work in the aged care sector unless his criminal record is concealed. “Contact in that sector is likely to be limited, and even more likely to be in the company of others. “Offence opportunity is therefore low.” Justice Downs ruled the man’s convictions should be disregarded and his convictions were wiped from his record.

The Medical Council will pursue charges against Wellington doctor Deane Drew for allegedly entering multiple sexual relationships with vulnerable women patients. The media revealed in May that Wellington doctor Deane Drew is being investigated for pursuing women patients for sex over three decades at his central city practices. The first woman, Clara (not her real name) complained to the Health and Disability Commissioner in October 2016, followed by three more including Drew’s estranged wife, Catherine English. The Medical Council appointed a professional conduct committee (PCC) to investigate, which was initially expected to take 2-6 months. Two more complainants come forward during the investigation.

A Bunbury doctor has confirmed his past life as a brothel owner in New Zealand. Dr Neil Benson is now based at Bunbury’s Brecken Health Care but in 2006 he had a doctor’s surgery in the small North Island town at Coopers Beach which he turned into a brothel and ran a prostitution service for six months. He said the business was just something he “fell into” following unusual circumstances in which he was not happy with the man who intended to lease his building and turn it into a bordello. “I decided then that rather than let them do something that was not very high quality, and since I was looking for something to do anyway, that I would have more of an involvement,” he said. “But really I was just going to be the silent partner behind it.” Dr Benson, who described himself as an “accidental brothel keeper” said his his past was not something he ever tried to hide and had nothing to do with his career as a respected doctor. “Many of my patients here know about it, you know, I have personally never been to a brothel other than the one I owned — it’s not part of my make up,” he said.

A care worker was found sleeping on two chairs in a staff kitchen at a nursing home while the daughter of a patient was frantically looking for a staff member, a tribunal has heard. The daughter of the patient stated that it was difficult to awaken the care worker in question during her night duty and she found another staff member who promptly got the nurse on duty without delay. The sleeping carer was one of two carers and one nurse tasked with looking after 23 patients during the night duty. The nursing home received a complaint over the care-worker being found asleep on the job. The care assistant had been employed by the nursing home for nine years until her dismissal on June 2nd 2017 arising from the ‘sleep’ incident on May 9th 2017. The care assistant sued for unfair dismissal and a Tribunal has found that the worker was not unfairly dismissed.

Dr Curtis Walker was today elected chairperson of the Medical Council of New Zealand. He succeeds Mr Andrew Connolly who has been the Council’s chair since February 2014.

John Mohi, a rest home resident, was last seen wearing blue jeans and a blue jersey with green stripes on the chest. The 77-year old man with dementia is missing in the Bay of Plenty. Police are searching for John Mohi, known as “Johnny Moses”, who was last seen on Wilson Rd in Maketū at 1pm on Monday.

An 88-year-old hospital secretary who was frogmarched out of her office and sacked has become the oldest person to win a UK age discrimination case. Eileen Jolly sued the NHS trust where she worked for 25 years after her career ended at the age of 85. She was blamed for not uploading details of women awaiting non-urgent breast reconstruction surgery to a new database. An employment tribunal ruled she had not been trained properly and was the victim of unfair dismissal and discrimination.

Alzheimer’s Otago manager Julie Butler is stepping down from the role after 18 years.