Judge gives forgery doctor a chance
A doctor who wrote dozens of fake sick notes for students has had his career derailed, a court has heard.
Daniel Quistorff, 33, was sentenced to community work and supervision when he appeared in the Auckland District Court today after being found guilty at trial on 37 counts of forgery.
Judge Nicola Mathers said the offending would usually result in a jail term, but she chose to be "merciful".
"By your stupidity you've placed your whole future at risk," she said. "I'm going to give you a chance."
Crown prosecutor Julia MacGibbon said Quistorff's remorse was not genuine, but the judge disagreed.
"I do accept your remorse, and the consequences to you are immense," she said.
"I hope you'll be reinstated as a doctor in due course and serve the community in a way you've worked so hard to achieve."
Between April and November 2011, Quistorff wrote 37 notes that excused 12 language students from exams or lectures.
The students attended Languages International and Unitec, and the judge said there was no evidence any of them had gone to Auckland City Hospital for assessment.
Quistorff's lawyer, Arlan Arman, said the offending arose from a sense of entitlement rather than any desire for personal gain.
"At the end of the day, what happened is Dr Quistorff wrote sick notes so people could be out of class," he said.
"It's derailed his career, ruined his reputation and he has lost a relationship in the process.
"He heals people, he saves lives.
"There's no doubt he was a good doctor, but at the time of the offending it's questionable whether he was the wisest."
Quistorff, who came to New Zealand from California 11 years ago, had not worked for three years and would go before the Medical Council now the criminal case had finished.
The judge said she did not want to interfere with the impending hearing but expressed her desire to see the doctor back in his profession.
She rejected the possibility of home detention and sentenced him to 300 hours' community work and 12 months' supervision.
Though she considered her sentence was lenient, Arman said, his client would forever carry the offending with him.
"Dr Quistorff has experienced a level of shame and public humiliation that's quite unlike anything I've seen," he said.
"He's quite literally lost anything of any meaning to him whatsoever."
Speaking after the hearing, Quistorff thanked the judge for her compassionate approach and said he had "paid a high price" for what happened.
He indicated how he planned to complete his community work.
"I hope to be able to spend that time treating children in South Auckland who I know need more medical help then they're currently receiving," he said.
The date of his Medical Council hearing has yet to be set.