A doctor has been suspended from practising for nine months after pleading guilty to possessing images of child sex abuse.
The doctor, whose name is suppressed, was sentenced to four months' home detention after admitting 25 charges of possessing objectionable material and one charge of distributing an objectionable publication.
The material was found on the doctor's computer and an external hard drive which contained over 400,000 files, 290,000 of which related to images of young girls in explicit sexual poses.
In a decision released by the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal today, the doctor had his registration suspended for nine months from the date of the hearing - July 26, 2010.
The tribunal also imposed several conditions for three years after the suspension ended, including that he comply with ongoing counselling, ongoing oversight by the health committee of the Medical Council, and that he undergo a psychiatric assessment confirming fitness to practise before he was re-registered. He was also ordered to pay $6000 costs.
In its findings, the tribunal said the doctor had a psychiatric diagnosis of paraphilia, which involved compulsive masturbation and the use of images when masturbating. This was apparently under control as a result of medication he was now taking.
The public had a legitimate expectation that their medical practitioners would behave in a morally and ethically acceptable way and the punishment handed down to the doctor had to reflect that, the tribunal said.
"This type of offending does deserve condemnation from the tribunal and a recognition that the tribunal has a role in maintaining public standards. Both of these factors could make cancellation of (the doctor's) registration the appropriate penalty," the decision read.