Sex offender osteopath faces censure

Last updated 12:42 25/06/2014

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A former Gisborne osteopath jailed for sexual offences against his patients will have his practising certificate cancelled.

At a hearing of the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal in Wellington today, Richard James Davis was found to have been convicted of offences which reflect adversely on his fitness to practice.

Tribunal chairwoman Maria Dew said his certificate would be cancelled and he would be censured when the formal written decision was released in the coming months.

There was no rush to cancel his certificate as Davis would not be able to practice because he was in Rimutaka Prison.

A jury in the High Court in Wellington in September last year found him guilty of eight charges of sexual violation and seven charges of indecent assault. In October Justice David Collins sentenced him to a total of eight years' jail.

The court he had women patients undress partially or completely and touched women's genitals and breasts with ungloved hands.

In March, he pleaded guilty in the same court to seven more sexual offending charges and was sentenced to seven years and seven months in jail, to be served concurrently with his earlier sentence.

At the tribunal hearing today, Paul Radich, prosecuting Davis for the Medical Councils' professional conduct committee, said there could be no question the offending reflected adversely on Davis' fitness to practice.

"It is difficult to imagine offending that would reflect more reservedly on the fitness of an osteopath to practise than the offending that has led to the convictions in this case," he said.

The only appropriate penalty was to cancel Davis' certificate and to censure him.

"The offending in this case is as serious as can be.

"As the [High Court] judge said, the offending was planned and predetermined and it breached the trust of vulnerable patients who placed a high level of trust in Davis as a health professional to conduct himself professionally."

The tribunal agreed with Radich.

It imposed two conditions should he ever successfully reapply for a medical certificate in the future.

For the first three years of registration he would not be allowed to operate in a sole practice, and must be supervised by a registered osteopath, at Davis' own cost.

He was ordered to pay 40 per cent of the costs to the tribunal and committee, which came to $10,535.

Davis was made aware of the hearing but had no representation at it.

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