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Unregistered chiropractor conviction welcomed

( Ministry of Health welcomes conviction of unregistered chiropractor

The Nelson District Court has convicted James Michael Dawson on charges of advertising and offering chiropractic services he was not authorised to administer, and ordered him to pay a fine of $9000.

“We welcome the court’s decision to convict Mr Dawson for his repeated disregard for the law and public safety,” Ministry of Health spokesperson Dr David St George said.

“Mr Dawson’s offending is serious because he put public safety at risk by carrying out treatment that he was not authorised to administer.”

The Ministry of Health laid 14 charges against Mr Dawson for breaches of sections 7 and 9 of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (HPCA Act). Twelve of these charges related to advertising and offering chiropractic services, whilst two were for carrying out activities restricted to registered chiropractors.

The HPCA Act includes mechanisms to ensure that practitioners are competent and fit to practise their professions. Among these mechanisms is a system of registration for health practitioners, which aims to protect the public and ensure a high standard of health care.

Mr Dawson trained as a chiropractor in the United States but has unsuccessfully tried to register as a chiropractor in New Zealand since migrating here in late 1995. He has previous similar convictions in 1999 and 2008, which he unsuccessfully appealed in 2010. In 2005, New Zealand’s Chiropractic Board warned people not to accept his chiropractic services.

Despite repeated warnings from authorities and previous convictions for the same offence, Mr Dawson continued to advertise and offer chiropractic services.

“Mr Dawson was well aware that his activities breached the HPCA Act but carried on anyway,” Dr St George noted.

At the sentencing on Thursday, Judge Tony Zohrab observed that Mr Dawson appeared to lack any remorse or insight into the offending and considered it likely he would commit the same offence.

The judge also noted that deterrent sentences were required for such offending.

Media Release from the Ministry of Health on 28 January 2011.



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