Occupational therapist reprimanded by tribunal after criminal conviction

23 Aug 2019

A tribunal has found the behaviour of a Western Australian occupational therapist constituted professional misconduct after receiving a criminal conviction.

In 2017, following a police investigation, Ms Jenkins was charged with acting with the intention to create a false belief under the Criminal Code 1913 (WA) and subsequently failed to notify the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia (the Board) of the charge. During the criminal investigation, Ms Jenkins became unwell.

If a registered occupational therapist is charged with an offence which is punishable by 12 months’ imprisonment or more, or is convicted or the subject of a finding of guilt for an offence, they must inform the Board within seven days.

Ms Jenkins was convicted of the charge in the Armadale Magistrates Court after entering a guilty plea, and sentenced to a nine-month community-based order and ordered to pay $3,929.20 in costs. Ms Jenkins also received a spent conviction.

In 2018, the Board took immediate action against Ms Jenkins’ registration by accepting an undertaking that she would not practise as an occupational therapist and also required her to undergo a health assessment.

Because of the conviction, and Ms Jenkin’s conduct which led to the conviction, the Board referred the matter to the State Administrative Tribunal in Western Australia (the tribunal).

Ms Jenkins admitted that her conduct constituted professional misconduct and that she has a health impairment. The tribunal noted that Ms Jenkins has been compliant with treatment and has the capacity to return to supervised practice.

The tribunal reprimanded Ms Jenkins and placed conditions on her registration which (among other things):

  • require her to give the Board written notice of her intention to recommence practice as an occupational therapist;
  • limit her hours of practice to 25 hours per week; and
  • require her to practise under supervision.

Ms Jenkins was also ordered to pay $1,200 towards the Board’s costs of the tribunal proceedings.

The tribunal also noted that Ms Jenkins had pleaded guilty to the offence at the earliest opportunity, showed genuine insight, remorse and contrition, did not seek to, and did not, obtain any financial benefit from the offending, has no prior disciplinary or criminal history and has made a contribution to the community in her chosen profession.

The orders are published on the eCourts Portal of Western Australia website.

Page reviewed 23/08/2019