NEWS HR

On the surface, Dorothy Winifred Pearson was a dutiful citizen, helping her elderly neighbour with her groceries. But the 57-year-old South Dunedin resident was not what she seemed. As soon as Pearson discovered the PIN for the woman’s eftpos card, she “mercilessly” ripped her off, bleeding the victim’s accounts of more than $7000 over 10 months. When the woman, who suffers from mild dementia, discovered the funds were missing, she ended up at the police station watching footage of someone making a withdrawal from her account. She recognised the swindler immediately. “I don’t swear but I said, for the first time ever ‘that’s the bitch, Dorothy Pearson, and she lives right across the street from me’,” the victim said. The rare expletive “eased the pain” at the time, the committed churchgoer said. Pearson appeared in the Dunedin District Court this week after pleading guilty to 10 counts of using a document for a pecuniary advantage. The defendant, who had been a caregiver for 20 years before losing her job recently, had a clean criminal record and argued she should not be photographed in court because she was not a threat to the community. Judge Philip Connell, though, said the offending was significant and potential future employers should be forewarned about the woman’s ability to commit such fraud.

A Christchurch doctor was a short-term locum covering leave when he indecently assaulted a patient, the clinic at which the offending occurred confirms. Rakesh Kumar Chawdhry, 62, was in February jailed for four years and three months after a judge found him guilty of 11 charges of indecent assault and one of sexual violation against patients. He pleaded guilty to two new indecent assault charges on Friday in the Christchurch District Court. The charges were laid after several more more complainants came forward after seeing media coverage of Chawdhry’s trial last year. The new charges related to sexual health examinations by Chawdhry, who immigrated to New Zealand from India in 2003. One of the charges involved a 26-year-old man, who went to the Amberley Medical Centre for a sexually-transmitted infection (STI) check in 2011.

A man has been arrested after a lockdown incident at Hutt Hospital on Tuesday night. Police said they have arrested a 35-year-old Upper Hutt man who will appear in the Hutt Valley District Court today on “various charges including breach of bail”. Police said the hospital was locked down as “a precautionary measure while police investigated an alleged assault and potential threat towards a patient”.

Hutt Hospital on High St, Lower Hutt was in lockdown after a threat was made just before 6pm on Tuesday. Police were called to the hospital on High St at about 6pm on Tuesday after receiving a report of concerning information. As of 8pm, a source close to the hospital said that armed police remained in attendance.

Police want help in finding a teenaged sex attacker after two women were assaulted in the Waikato Hospital staff car park. The first assault happened about 4pm on Friday, the second shortly after. Burgess was unsure if the victims were hospital staff. The offender is described as 16 and white.

Krystal Janet Marie Pearce, 33, was sentenced to more than two years and two months in jail when she appeared in the Hamilton District Court on Tuesday. Krystal Pearce was fully aware of the gravity of what she was doing when she slipped into the room of a 91-year-old woman in a Hamilton rest home and stole her handbag. She was aware because it was the same thing she had done and been convicted of in 2011. Krystal Janet Marie Pearce, 33, was jailed for two years and two months when she appeared in the Hamilton District Court on Tuesday, on one charge of burglary and five of using a document – her victim’s credit card – for pecuniary advantage. Judge Philip Crayton said while the burglary took place during the day – generally a tempering factor for people on such charges because the occupants are usually not at home – this was not the case for rest homes. And Pearce was also fully aware of the vulnerability of her victim because the Selwyn Wilson Carlile Retirement Village in Hamilton east was a previous target among her 36 recorded burglaries.

Thieves hijacked a young nurse’s car moments after she was caught up in a fender bender. The actions left the 21-year-old Hamilton newcomer shocked and teary on the roadside in Hamilton East on Monday – with no ride to clock in for her shift at Waikato Hospital. Police would later spot the stolen Legnum and chase it to Lake Rotoroa where the culprits scarpered. The woman, was on her way to work at Waikato Hospital around 2pm on Monday when she was involved in a minor crash on Grey St.

An orthopaedic surgeon who forged prescriptions for himself and his wife was a “danger to the public” according to the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal, which fined him $19,000. American national Stephen Augustine worked at Gisborne Hospital from October, 2014 to March, 2016. On 20 occasions between August 2015 and March 2016 Augustine wrote prescriptions for codeine phosphate on Gisborne Hospital generic prescription pads under the name of a colleague and forged the colleague’s signature. He used his own patient details and those of his wife and presented the prescriptions at seven different community pharmacies in the Gisborne area and collected the drugs himself. He fraudulently obtained 1970 pills over a seven month period. Augustine’s offending led to his colleague being temporarily prevented by his employer from writing prescriptions. Police laid 20 charges against Augustine. He appeared in Gisborne District Court in May, 2016, and was discharged without conviction. The Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal heard a charge against Augustine in April. One part of the charge related to his forging the signature of another medical practitioner. The other related to prescribing codeine phosphate tablets for his wife when he knew or ought to have known that such prescribing of a drug of dependence was inappropriate and/or contrary to acceptable medical practice. In a recently released finding the Tribunal said it “had no hesitation in finding the charge and each of its two particulars both severally and cumulatively amounted to professional misconduct”. Augustine, who did not attend the hearing, no longer lived in New Zealand and did not intend to return to practise medicine here, the Tribunal said. The Tribunal said there had been “plenty of opportunities” for Augustine to respond to the charges but he had not done so. “The Tribunal found the Doctor is a danger to the public which needs protection from him,” it said. Augustine had his doctor’s registration cancelled and was ordered to pay costs of $19,000. The Tribunal requested the NZ Medical Council to send a copy of its decision to the appropriate authorities in the States of Florida and Georgia and the Federal Authorities in the United States of America “so that those authorities there are fully conversant with the matters raised in this decision”.