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Tribunal rejects Board’s improper report preparation allegations

18 May 2016

The Psychology Board's allegations against a psychologist have been rejected by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) have rejected allegations made by the Psychology Board of Australia (the Board) that a psychologist had prepared an inappropriate report for the Parole Board of Queensland.

The Board commenced disciplinary proceedings against Dr James Freeman on 24 November 2011 and referred the matter for a hearing before a Professional Conduct Review Panel. However, Dr Freeman elected under the Health Practitioners (Professional Standards) Act 1999 (Qld), as it was in 2011, to have the matters dealt with by the tribunal.

The allegation against Dr Freeman was that a report he prepared for the Parole Board of Queensland in which he opined that a prisoner had borderline personality disorder, was inappropriate. The Board relied upon an independent expert report it had obtained to support the allegation. The matter was heard before the tribunal between 28 – 30 October 2013.

Dr Freeman did not admit to the allegations made and made objections to the admission of the expert report relied on by the Board. At the commencement of the hearing, the tribunal heard Dr Freeman’s objections relating to the expert report and as a result, significant parts of the expert report were required to be redacted.

The tribunal issued its decision on 21 October 2015. The tribunal found that none of the allegations on which the Board relied to establish that Dr Freeman’s assessment were inappropriate and dismissed the Board’s referral. The tribunal was of the view that the issues identified in the Board’s expert report did not establish a failure to meet the standards reasonably expected of a psychologist by his professional peers or the public.

The tribunal has given a preliminary view that the Board should pay Dr Freeman’s costs of the proceedings and, is yet to issue its final decision on this matter.

The reasons for the tribunal’s decision are on the Austlii website.

Page reviewed 18/05/2016