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Medical Professionals Convicted of Accessing Child Pornography - Presumptive Lifetime Prohibition on Paediatric Practice?


Health Care Complaints Commission v Wingate [2007] NSWCA 326 concerns an appeal from the New South Wales Medical Tribunal regarding its findings on professional misconduct outside the practice of medicine in relation to a doctor convicted of possessing child pornography. The latest in a number of cases on this issue in Australia, it highlights the complexity of such decisions before medical tribunals and boards, as well as the diversity of approaches taken. Considering both this case and the recent Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria case of Re Stephanopoulos [2006] MPBV 12, this article argues that Australian tribunals and medical boards may not yet have achieved the right balance here in terms of protecting public safety and the reputation of the profession as a whole. It makes the case for a position statement from Australian professional bodies to create a presumption of a lifetime prohibition on paediatric practice after a medical professional has been convicted of accessing child pornography.

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