The Tribunal considered a charge laid by a Professional Conduct Committee against Ms T, registered nurse (the Nurse), relating to a referral of conviction.
The Tribunal charge related to a conviction under the Crimes Act 1961 in that:
- The Nurse caused the death of her husband by an assault and thereby committed manslaughter.
The Nurse pleaded guilty to charge of manslaughter in the High Court and was sentenced to 11 months home detention.
The Nurse’s husband came home at approximately 1.00am and was extremely intoxicated. The Nurse and her husband had a verbal argument and the Nurse told her husband to leave before he woke their daughter who was asleep in bed.
The Nurse’s husband went to the front door having picked up the car keys which she grabbed back off him. He attempted to push his way back into the house and the Nurse pushed him in response. He feel backwards off the porch, striking his head. The Nurse rang the ambulance and tended to him. He was transported to hospital where he underwent surgery. Tragically, the Nurse’s husband died in hospital due to blunt force trauma to the head consistent with the fall.
The hearing proceeded on the basis of an agreed summary of facts.
The Tribunal found the charge to be established as reflecting adversely on the Nurse’s fitness to practise.
The Tribunal acknowledged that while the death of the Nurse’s husband was accidental and unintended, there was a tragic consequence of the Nurse’s actions. Conviction for manslaughter is one of the most serious criminal offences and constitutes a significant departure from the standards reasonably expected of a registered nurse. The Tribunal found that the conviction was sufficiently serious to warrant disciplinary sanction.
The Tribunal directed publication of its decision and a summary.