Unregistered psychologist receives conviction and fine

28 Oct 2016

A NSW man has been fined for knowingly holding himself out as a psychologist when he was not registered.

A NSW man has received an $8,000 fine and been ordered to pay $1,200 in costs for knowingly holding himself out as a psychologist when he was not registered, in breach of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law as in force in each state and territory (the National Law).

Mr Robert Marcel Gachon had his registration as a psychologist cancelled by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) on 19 November 2015, for unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct. At the time NCAT also made an order prohibiting Mr Gachon from reapplying for registration for 18 months and providing a number of health services, including counselling.

Mr Gachon was charged under section 116(1)(b)(ii) of the National Law in relation to a period of offending between 22 February 2016 and 4 March 2016, when he was working as a rehabilitation consultant. His duties were allocated based on his registration as a psychologist, and he did not advise his employer when his registration was cancelled. During the period of offending, Mr Gachon signed his emails as a psychologist and conducted a psychological assessment of a client, including conducting a suicide risk assessment.

At a hearing in the NSW Local Court at the Downing Centre in Sydney on 10 October 2016, her Honour Magistrate Farnan found Mr Gachon guilty of the charge and recorded a conviction against him. Mr Gachon was fined $8,000 and ordered to pay the prosecution’s costs in the amount of $1,200.

‘Registration requirements under the National Law instil public confidence in the system and protect the public,” Chair of the Psychology Board of Australia, Professor Brin Grenyer said. ‘Anyone caught engaging in this type of conduct will face action, including potential criminal prosecution.’

The current registration status of all of Australia’s 637,000 registered health practitioners is published on the register of practitioners. If a person’s name does not appear on the register, they are not registered to practise in a regulated health profession in Australia.

Anyone with concerns about the registration status of a person working as a registered health practitioner should contact AHPRA immediately.

 
 
Page reviewed 28/10/2016