Press Release – ECPAT
An Auckland doctor found guilty of possessing child pornography is appealing to the High Court against the punishment handed down to him by the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal (HPDT).
Vikram Abraham Joseph, 25, admitted six charges of possessing objectionable material after police found files on his computer’s hard drive of children aged 5 years to 14 years engaging in sex acts.
ECPAT Child ALERT Director, Alan Bell says “We would be concerned if this appeal was upheld. This is a case where the offender has broken the trust placed in him as medical practitioner serving the community. The concern should be for the children abused in the illegal images and not for the offender seeking to return to life as normal.”
The 25-year-old pleaded guilty and was sentenced in October to 300 hours of community work as well as being placed under supervision for 12 months.
The HPDT ordered Vikram Joseph be suspended from practice for a year and, upon returning to practice, several conditions be in place for two years. The conditions to return to practice include psychological treatment, professional supervision and a chaperone when treating patients under the age of 16. However, he is appealing the penalty to the High Court.
Bell states “Why would a person in this situation get a ‘short –cut’ and be placed back into a situation of public trust when that trust has been betrayed. He should undergo the treatment and take time out to consider his actions and demonstrate that he is ready to be trusted again. Even then the monitoring supervision should be maintained. A doctor’s surgery should be a place of absolute integrity and trust and parents have the right to absolutely expect this.”
HPDT executive officer Gay Fraser says Dr Joseph has requested to the High Court that he be able to continue practising until the penalty has been reconsidered.