10 Dec 2021
A tribunal has cancelled a medical practitioner’s registration and disqualified him from reapplying for eight years after finding he engaged in professional misconduct by downloading and possessing child exploitation material.
On 27 November 2015 the Medical Board of Australia (the Board) received a notification about Dr Yu from a representative of the hospital where Dr Yu was employed. A second notification was made by South Australia Police.
The Board immediately started an investigation on 4 December 2015 and on 11 December 2015 imposed a condition on Dr Yu’s registration that he must not consult with (examine, prescribe for, see, advise or treat) any person under 18 years of age. The Board also imposed a condition for Dr Yu to only practise from locations approved by the Board. Dr Yu has not practised since those conditions were imposed.
Dr Yu admitted that he downloaded child exploitation material from an Internet forum (of which he was a registered user) and which he had accessed using software which enables anonymous electronic communication.
Dr Yu was charged with and convicted of possessing child exploitation material and in March 2017, sentenced in the Magistrates Court of South Australia to 16 months imprisonment – reduced to 9 months and 18 days following a guilty plea. The sentence was suspended when Dr Yu entered a good behaviour bond for a period of two years subject to the condition that he not engage in child related work and not use the internet to access child exploitation material.
The matter was heard by the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) on 21 and 22 November 2019. The Board alleged Dr Yu’s conduct, namely downloading child exploitation material which he possessed and viewed over an extensive period, amounted to professional misconduct.
Dr Yu admitted to the conviction and that the conduct amounted to professional misconduct. However, he disputed the length of time that the offending took place. The tribunal considered this relevant to characterising the seriousness of the misconduct and appropriate disciplinary action and found that Dr Yu embarked on a deliberate course of action to access and possess child exploitation material and possessed and stored child exploitation material from at least March 2010 to November 2015.
The tribunal found Dr Yu’s conduct constituted professional misconduct and demonstrated that he lacks the good character and integrity to practise as a professional in relation to children and other vulnerable persons. His conduct is such as to bring the medical profession into disrepute, and is detrimental to the reputation of, and the public’s trust and confidence in the medical profession.
The tribunal handed down its sanctions in relation to the matter on 25 March 2021.
The tribunal reprimanded Dr Yu and cancelled his registration, disqualifying him from applying for registration for a period of 8 years starting from 25 March 2021.
The tribunal also ordered that he pay the Medical Board’s costs of and incidental to these proceedings.
The decision and sanctions are published on the Austlii website.