Suppression order to protect wife

Last updated 15:09 26/08/2014

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A Dunedin man who broke his profession's code of conduct by having sex "short of intercourse" with a client has won suppression to protect his wife.

The High Court has ordered that details identifying the man cannot be published because the stress could impact on the health of the man's wife, known as Mrs X.

The court noted it would be wrong "to not suppress [the man's] name having determined that Mrs X required protection from publicity."

When appearing before his profession's disciplinary tribunal, the man acknowledged his guilt on two charges of professional misconduct.

The conduct  involved intimacy with a [client] twice on the same day   once at his place of work and once, by agreement, at hers.

"There was, however, no agreement as to what had happened so a tribunal hearing took place."

The tribunal deemed the conduct "involved sexual intimacy short of intercourse".

The man was convicted and fined $25,000. He was allowed to continue in his profession but conditions were imposed.

Mrs X had a significant health condition – the prime trigger for which was stress, the High Court noted.

For this reason the tribunal had ordered suppression of her identity but it was "quite difficult to give effect to the Tribunal's decision", court papers said.

If her husband's name remained public "pretty much everyone who knows her" would be able to identify her, the High Court said, concluding the best solution was to grant the man suppression.

The court detailed the tribunal's reference to the low risk the man posed, noting his offending was out of character and at the lesser end of the spectrum.

In ordering in favour of the appeal it imposed the condition that, if asked by any client, the man would confirm he was the professional who obtained name suppression and would also provide "appropriate information" to the client.

The court suppressed Mrs X's condition and her personal health information.

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