Rotorua doctor loses suppression
A Rotorua doctor facing a professional conduct hearing over an insurance fraud conviction has lost a bid for name suppression.
General practitioner Dr Peter Adams faces a Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal hearing over a charge that his conviction affects his ability to practise.
Adams was convicted in the Rotorua District Court in February 2013 of attempting to obtain cash by deception. The charge related to a travel insurance claim involving $4500 of allegedly lost items. Adams never received any money and was convicted and discharged and ordered to pay $500 court costs, while the Ministry of Justice referred the matter to the tribunal.
Adams had sought name suppression on the grounds that further publicity would have a detrimental effect on him, his employer, patients, colleagues and family, which he argued would outweigh the public interest. Patients had already left the practice he worked at without explanation, which he believed was as a result of publicity around the original court case.
However, in declining interim suppression in its decision released today, the tribunal ruled there must be a presumption of public hearings where professional bodies could be seen to hold their members accountable.
The tribunal noted that Adams did not deny the district court conviction, meaning "that the presumption of innocence will inevitably not have the same weight as it would in cases where there are-as yet unproven allegations".
The tribunal did not oppose an application to suppress details of Adams personal life, family members and his practice.