20 Dec 2016
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the Tribunal) has reprimanded Mr Kuang King Tan for professional misconduct, cancelled his registration as a provisional pharmacist and disqualified him from re-applying for registration for a period of four years from the date of the Tribunal’s order.
On 27 May 2014, the Victorian Police were notified about an alleged sexual assault by Mr Tan at a pharmacy where he was working while provisionally registered as a pharmacist.
On 29 May 2014, AHPRA received a notification about the conduct of Mr Tan, relating to the alleged sexual assault and attempts to discourage the notifier from reporting his conduct. On 3 June 2014, an Immediate Action Committee of the Pharmacy Board of Australia (the Board) decided to suspend Mr Tan’s provisional registration and to investigate the notification further. In early June 2014, the investigation was put on hold pending the completion of the Victoria Police investigation and any subsequent criminal proceedings in relation to Mr Tan’s conduct.
On 14 November 2014, Mr Tan was convicted of one charge of rape and was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, and on release, a three year Community Correction Order.
On 8 April 2016, the Board referred the matter to the Tribunal. In making its determination, the Tribunal affirmed that the facts of the case disclose a ‘gross and substantial breach of trust’. The Tribunal also noted that following the incident, Mr Tan sought to mislead the police, attempted to leave the country and tried to persuade others not to notify the Board. He also failed to report the charges and subsequent conviction to the Board. Although he advised that he was not aware of his obligation to do so, the Tribunal affirmed that this did not assist his position.
The Tribunal stated ‘it is essential that all practitioners make themselves aware of their obligations under the law and the code of conduct for their profession. The Board plays a critical role in regulating the profession and protecting the public. It relies on registered health practitioners self-reporting relevant matters in order to protect the public and maintain professional standards.’
The Tribunal affirmed that Mr Tan’s conduct fell so substantially below the standard reasonably expected of a registered pharmacist that it falls within the most serious example of professional misconduct. The Tribunal, however, also noted that the purpose of the determination was not to be punitive. There had not been any previous transgressions and Mr Tan had demonstrated regret and remorse for his conduct. Further, following completion of a sex offender treatment program, he was expected to have a low risk of reoffending. Balancing these considerations, the Tribunal agreed that cancelling his provisional registration and disqualifying him from re-registration for a period of four years appropriate.
The reasons for the decision can be found on the Austlii website.