Practising for 19 months without a practising certificate
Mr Adam Vitali, a registered dental technician and clinical dental technician was found guilty by the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal of practising without a current practising certificate for 19 months. The Tribunal was “willing to accept that Mr Vitali did not intentionally ignore his obligation to renew his APC but that he was seriously remiss in failing to attend to the renewal for 19 months.” The Tribunal was clear that “the offence of practising without a current practising certificate is an absolute offence”. An absolute offence means there is no requirement for knowledge or intention on the part of the practitioner. In relation to penalty, the Tribunal took into account Mr Vitali’s cooperation, his personal and financial circumstances, and that practising without a practising certificate for 19 months put the case at the moderately serious end of comparable cases. The Tribunal ordered that Mr Vitali be censured, pay a fine of $2,200 and a $6,500 contribution towards the costs of prosecution. The full Tribunal decision is available here: www.hpdt.org.nz/Default.aspx?Tabid=392
Suspended suspension orders get a ‘No’ from the High Court
The High Court has agreed with a professional conduct committee (PCC) of the Dental Council that the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal has no power to impose a penalty of ‘suspended suspension’.
The High Court decision arose from an appeal made by the PCC against a decision of the Tribunal, dated 22 May 2013, concerning Choonsik Moon, a dentist. Dr Moon had practised while suspended by the Dental Council. The Tribunal found his conduct amounted to professional misconduct, and brought discredit to the dental profession. The Tribunal ordered the suspension of Dr Moon’s registration for 12 months, but the suspension would not take effect unless Dr Moon failed to satisfy conditions imposed on his practice for a two-year period; effectively a ‘suspended suspension’. On appeal to it, the High Court made an order to quash that aspect of the penalty, as well as the suspension order itself. Other aspects of the penalty, such as the censure, fine, costs award and conditions on practice, prevailed.
A Professional Conduct Committee of the Dental Council v Choonsik Moon  NZHC 189