File Number: Psy20/469P
Practitioner: Paul (Paora) Joseph
Hearing Start Date:
Hearing End Date:
Sexual misconduct - sexual relationship with patient or former patient or partner of patient (Established)
Name Suppression to Practitioner
Order for interim name suppression and any identifying details for the practitioner.
Name suppresssion for the practitioner lapsed on 10 December 2020.
Name Suppression to Witness/s and/or Family of parties
Order for interim name suppression and any identifying details for the person named in the charge (Ms G).
Permanent suppression of the names and identifying features of Ms G.
The application for giving evidence by Audio Visual Link (AVL) is granted.
Appointment of a Cultural Adviser.
Permanent suppression of the names and identifying features of the witnesses.
A full and reasoned decision of the Tribunal as to liability and penalty is yet to be released and published.
Decision granting an extension of the timeframe for cancellation of the practitioner’s registration
Full Decision 1143Psy20469P.pdf
Precis of Decision:
On 7 to 10 December 2020, the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal heard a charge of professional misconduct laid by a Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) against Mr Paul (Paora) Warren Joseph, psychologist of Whangarei, the Psychologist.
The charge alleged that between October 2004 and January 2005, the Psychologist encouraged and/or engaged in sexual intimacy with a current and former patient in that he:
- conducted one or more therapy sessions with the patient in which he lay naked with her and/or engaged in sexual contact with her; and/or
- engaged in sexual contact with the patient at her home; and/or
- suggested a sexual act, a threesome, between himself, the patient and her flatmate.
The patient first met the Psychologist in 2002 when she attended counselling sessions at the University Counselling Service attending 8 sessions in late 2002 early 2003.
The patient said she then saw the Psychologist after she was sexually assaulted in 2004 when she sought the Psychologist’s assistance. She said she attended the practitioner’s home for several counselling sessions in or about October 2004 and January 2005. At one of these sessions, it was alleged that the Psychologist lay naked with her and/or engaged in sexual contact with her.
The patient also alleged that in late 2004, the Psychologist visited her flat, they engaged in sexual relations and he encouraged the patient to ask her flatmate to join them for a threesome.
The Psychologist accepted that he saw the patient when he was a University Counsellor in 2002 but does not recall the sessions. The Psychologist resigned from the University Counselling Service in February 2003 and denies that he saw the complainant after that time and specifically denied all aspects of the Charge.
The Tribunal announced its decision at the hearing and released a written decision on the penalties ordered at the conclusion of the hearing. The full reasoned written decision of the Tribunal was released in April 2021.
The Tribunal found the Charge established on the balance of probabilities. It was satisfied that the cumulative weight of evidence from the PCC was sufficient to prove that the patient had a therapeutic relationship with the practitioner in 2004 and sexual intimacy did occur on more than one occasion.
The Tribunal also recognised the substantial good character evidence provided by witnesses for the Psychologist and his service to his community over many years. However, his past good character could not outweigh the compelling evidence that the conduct alleged in the Charge did occur. It is unfortunately possible for the Psychologist to act in the way he did with the patient, while also behaving in the way described by his witnesses in other circumstances.
The Tribunal ordered the following penalties:
- cancellation of registration effective from 15 January 2021;
- the Psychologist may not re-apply for re-registration for a period of two years following the date of cancellation;
- conditions to be satisfied before re-applying for re-registration; and
- pay costs of $64,620.00 amounting to 30% of the total costs.
It further directed publication of its decision and a summary.