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Decision No: 04/124C
Practitioner: Name suppressed
Charge Characteristics: Inappropriate communication
Additional Orders: Doctor granted interim name suppression.
Doctor declined private hearing:  04124cfindingsnamesup
Doctor granted permanent name suppression:  04124cfindingsnamesuperm
Decision: 04124cfindings


Dr J was charged with conduct unbecoming a medical practitioner and that conduct reflected adversely on his fitness to practice. It was alleged that during business hours at his medical centre Dr J, in an intimidatory manner verbally and physically abused his colleague and business partner, Dr X, causing Dr X to suffer physical and emotional injuries.



On 5 February 2003 a serious incident occurred in Dr Jís office. The incident resulted in Dr X suffering facial abrasions, a black eye, cuts to his mouth, a fracture of his lower jaw bone and dislodged teeth. Dr X required extensive dental treatment. Dr J suffered a broken ankle and bites to his right forearm and beneath his left arm pit.

Doctors X and J were the only people present when the incident occurred. Their accounts and explanations of what took place had little in common.



The Tribunal had doubts about what had occurred and could not be satisfied to the requisite standard that the charge had been proved.

The Tribunal concluded that although considerable time could be spent analysing the respective accounts of Dr X and Dr J it did not do that for the following reasons:

  • It may never be possible to determine accurately what happened in Dr Jís office on 5 February 2003.
  • The Tribunal was satisfied that both Dr X and Dr J were at fault. Both contributed to the unfortunate events which occurred that day.
  • The Tribunalís doubts about what occurred are such that the Tribunal could not be satisfied to the requisite standard that the charge had been proven.

The Tribunal considered that the events of 5 February did not reflect well on either Dr J or Dr X and that neither conducted themselves in a manner expected of the New Zealand medical community.

The final observation that the Tribunal made was, that notwithstanding the Tribunalís concerns about both doctors, there was no evidence to suggest that either doctor failed to discharge their professional responsibilities to their patients. This was not a case where patient safety or clinical standards had been compromised.