15 Jun 2016
A medical practitioner who admitted possessing child pornography has had his registration suspended by a tribunal for professional misconduct.
As well as suspending Dr Alexander Black’s registration for three months from 21 June 2016, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) reprimanded him and banned Dr Black from treating anyone aged under 18.
Dr Black appeared before the tribunal in April 2016 following a referral of the notification to the Tribunal by the Medical Board of Australia (the Board) in August 2015 alleging he had engaged in professional misconduct.
On 6 May 2014, Dr Black pleaded guilty to two charges of knowingly possessing child pornography when he appeared in the Geelong Magistrates’ Court.
Dr Black was convicted and placed on a two-year good behaviour bond with conditions that he undergo psychiatric and psychological treatment during this time and donate $20,000 to a sex abuse prevention program.
The material for which Dr Black was convicted of possessing comprised in total, 45 images and 67 movies containing child exploitation material, including material depicting children engaged in sexual activity.
During April’s tribunal proceedings, Dr Black admitted to engaging in the alleged conduct between November 2012 and December 2013 and acknowledged that his conduct constituted professional misconduct.
In its decision, the tribunal noted that Dr Black self-reported to the Board, made early admissions in both the criminal and the disciplinary proceedings and cooperated with the Board, indicating insight and remorse. Dr Black had self-identified his serious problems, seeking counselling and treatment at an early stage. He had also voluntarily resigned from his posts at the hospital where he worked and agreed to suspend his practice for nine months in 2014.
The tribunal stated that its purpose was not to punish Dr Black and noted that there had already been profound personal and professional consequences for him. The tribunal said, ‘Our overall purpose is to protect the public, maintain the professional standards of the medical profession, and maintain the reputation of and public confidence in the profession.’
The full reasons for the tribunal’s decision are published on the AustLII website.