Judicial Committee decisions

The Judicial Committee is a committee of the Council that carries out disciplinary hearings. Where concerns are raised about a veterinarian, they can be considered by a Complaints Assessment Committee (CAC) and in some cases the CAC may decide to lay disciplinary charges against the veterinarian. In that situation, we appoint a Judicial Committee to consider the charges. This page sets out the findings of all of the Judicial Committee hearings we have held.

 Reference  Hearing date Charge Outcome Keywords  Download 
 VCNZ 38  Charge withdrawn
 VCNZ 37 17 April 2019  That the veterinarian acted in an unprofessional manner by failing to perform a physical examination to determine whether it was an emergency situation, referring the client back to the treating veterinarian, and by not making clinical records for the consultation.
 
 The charge was dismissed by the Committee.      Veterinary emergency, examination, animal welfare  Decision
 VCNZ 36 14 May 2018  The veterinarian used their  online log in to a radiology service to access human health records.  The charge of professional misconduct was established by the Committee. 

The Committee found that the conduct brought discredit to the veterinary profession and considered that the veterinarian, who signed a privacy and security agreement, should have known they were not permitted to use their online log in to access human health records under any circumstances. 

The veterinarian was censured, conditions placed on her practice, and ordered to pay $20,676 towards costs. 
 
 Privacy, clinical records, professionalism   Decision
 VCNZ 35 18 June 2018  The veterinarian acted in a threatening, intimidating and aggressive manner towards a junior veterinarian; that they did not provide optimal supervision for junior veterinary staff; and that they failed to adequately engage with Council processes.  The charge of professional misconduct was established by the Committee. 

The Committee determined that the veterinarian conducted themselves in an unprofessional and unethical manner and failed to treat their colleagues with professionalism and respect. The Committee also considered that the veterinarian provided unsatisfactory and unprofessional responses to the CAC and that they had failed to adequately engage with the CAC. 

The veterinarian was censured, suspended for 9 months, required to work subject to supervisions once he returned to practice, and ordered to pay $43,000.
 
Professional relationships, bullying, engagement with CAC   Decision
 VCNZ 34 17 October 2017  The veterinarian held themselves out as a practising veterinarian when they did not have a current annual practising certificate (APC); and issued Veterinary Operating Instructions.    The charge of professional misconduct was established by the Committee.  

Restricted Veterinary Medicines (RVMs) require veterinary authorisation. The Committee found that the veterinarian purchased the RVMs when they did not hold a current APC and determined that this warranted disciplinary sanction. 

The veterinarian was censured, fined $7000, and ordered to pay $13,000 towards costs. 
 
 Veterinary Medicines, practising without an APC  Decision
 VCNZ 33  Charge withdrawn
 VCNZ 32  Charge withdrawn
 VCNZ 31 26 March 2015  The veterinarian purchased restricted veterinary medicines -  including Ventipulmin, stanazol, Tribolin, Ketamine for the purpose of selling to a third party; and a failure to maintain clear and accurate clinical records of restricted veterinary medicines and controlled drugs.    The charge of professional misconduct was established by the Committee. 

The veterinarian’s registration was cancelled, and his name was removed from the register of veterinarians. 
 
Veterinary medicines, clinical records, dishonesty     Decision
 VCNZ 30 28 November 2014   That the veterinarian failed to recognise that the ewe was pregnant; performed an unnecessary and inappropriate procedure causing distress to the animal; denied to the client and the CAC the extent of the procedure; and did not recognise they lacked the ability to perform their duties to an accepted standard of care.  The charge was dismissed by the Committee. 

The Committee considered that the evidence presented at the hearing established that the veterinarian did not do or perform any procedure as described by the witness. 
 
Veterinary services, communication,  dishonesty   Decision
 VCNZ 29 8 May 2014  The veterinarian altered client records, including phone numbers, future bookings and completed bookings, without the consent of the clients or the clinic.
 
 The charge of professional misconduct was established by the Committee.

The veterinarian was found to have acted inappropriately and without the authorisation of the clinic or the clients concerned. The veterinarian was found to have acted to prevent the clinic from contacting those clients, and to give him time to contact the clients and advise them that they had set up their own veterinary practice. 

The veterinarian was censured and ordered to pay costs to the sum of $4,400. Name suppression was granted. 
 
Privacy, clinical records, professional relationships    Decision
 VCNZ 28 2 May 2013  That the veterinarian administered a non-standard dose of Ketoprofen to a racehorse without the reasonable care and skill expected of veterinarians; and took and obstructive approach to the CAC investigation.    The charge of professional misconduct was established by the Committee.  

The Committee were satisfied that the Ketoprofen detected in the horse was derived from the dose administered 81 hours earlier. 

The veterinarian was censured, conditions on practice placed, and payment of 50% of the costs incurred by the Judicial Committee and the CAC. 
 
Veterinary medicines, clinical records, engagement with CAC   Decision on charges

Decision on penalty
 VCNZ 27 31 August 2010  The veterinarian failed to provide continuity of clinical services; and did not provide the CAC with the specific information that it requested.   The original letter was not a complaint, and this meant the laying of a charge was without the requisite statutory authority.

The veterinarian who raised the matter did not intend for his letter to be a complaint. 
 
 Veterinary services, information request, engagement with CAC   Decision
 VCNZ 26 20 November 2008  The veterinarian failed to ensure a urine sample was kept secure; bet on dogs when acting as a race day official; failed to properly secure and deliver a post-race drug test; and signed a certificate which they ought to have known was untrue, misleading and/or inaccurate.    The charge of professional misconduct was established by the Committee. 

The veterinarian had their registration cancelled and their name was removed from the Register of Veterinarians. They were ordered to pay costs of $15,000 to the Committee and $15,000 to the CAC. 

Decision to remove the veterinarian from the Register of Veterinarians – dismissed by District Court. 
 
Professional integrity, dishonesty   Decision
 VCNZ 25  13 March 2007  The matter related to the veterinarians conduct after being consulted to treat urinary tract disease in a cat. The cat was also injured after being caught in a cage at the veterinarian’s clinic.   The charge of professional misconduct was established by the Committee. 

The Committee found that the particulars of the first charge were proven. The veterinarian failed to keep adequate records of treatment (including the administration of morphine) and failed to keep a dangerous drugs register.  

The second, third and fourth charges brought by the CAC were not established. 
 
Clinical records, veterinary medicines    Decision
 VCNZ 24 28 March 2006  The matter related to two separate complaints that were referred to the CAC. 

The veterinarian incorrectly diagnosed stifle joint disease in a dog and mislead the CAC into believing changes had been made to his practise. The veterinarian also used insufficient information to diagnose renal disease and then mislead the CAC into thinking they had instituted peer review and support mechanisms following the case. 
 The charge of professional misconduct was established by the Committee. 

The diagnosis and management of the first case combined with response to the CAC was considered by the Committee to amount to professional misconduct.

The veterinarian was also dishonest to both the CAC and the complainant in the second case. 

The veterinarian was suspended, fined two separate amounts of $1500 and $3500, ordered to pay 50% of costs to a maximum of $6000. The decision was published with identifying details redacted. 
 
 Professional integrity, incorrect diagnosis, misleading the CAC, dishonesty  Decision
 VCNZ 23 20 December 2005  The veterinarian was subject to a fitness to practise hearing following a conviction for selling an unregistered agricultural compound.   No Penalty. The veterinarian was ordered to pay 15% costs of hearing and the decision was published in Newsbrief. 
 
Conviction   Decision
 VCNZ 22 20 December 2005   The veterinarian was subject to a fitness to practise hearing following a conviction for selling an unregistered agricultural compound. 
 
 
No Penalty. The veterinarian was ordered to pay 15% costs of hearing and the decision was published in Newsbrief.
 
Conviction  Decision
 VCNZ 21 23 June 2005  The veterinarian placed a cat in a makeshift ‘oxygen tent’ which was a cremation bag. Oxygen was pumped into the bag for 10 minutes and then the cat was placed in the bag and discharged. The bag contained no oxygen outlets and the cat was found dead the following morning.    The charge of professional misconduct was established by the Committee. 

The veterinarian provided a signed memorandum, in which they accepted that their decision to discharge the cat in a sealed cremation bag constituted professional misconduct. 

Conditions placed on practise – including controlled working hours and review of case decision. Veterinarian to pay 40% of costs of investigation and hearing. 
 
Veterinary services    Decision
 VCNZ 20 25 August 2005  The veterinarian was subject to a fitness to practise hearing following a conviction for two charges – common assault and being in possession of a firearm when not licensed.   No further disciplinary action required. 

The veterinarians name was supressed, and a summary of the decision was published in Newsbrief.
             
Conviction  Decision
 VCNZ 19 3 March 2005  That the veterinarian supplied prescription animal remedies (PARs) without performing a veterinary consultation.   The charge of professional misconduct was established by the Committee. 

The veterinarian supplied 960 tubes of Bovaclox, 120 tuves of Orvenin Enduro and 300 tubes of Dryclox Extra without undertaking a clinic or telephone consultation to the required level to determine the farms requirements. 

Fined $3000 and ordered to pay 25% of costs of investigation and hearing. Conditions were also placed on the veterinarian’s practise, and they were required to have 3 audits over the course of 3 years (paid for by veterinarian). Name suppression was granted.
              
Veterinary medicines,  veterinary consultation  Decision
 VCNZ 18 29 November 2000 The veterinarian stole cheques from his employer totalling $12,824.    The charge of professional misconduct was established by the Committee. 

The veterinarian admitted to the charge. The Committee considered that the veterinarian betrayed the trust of his employer and brought the profession into disrepute. 

The veterinarian was censured; fined $4000; ordered to pay 50% of the costs of the hearing; conditions were placed on practice; and the employer to provide quarterly reports.  
 
Dishonesty   Decision
 VCNZ 17 29 November 2000  The veterinarian was subject to a fitness to practise hearing following a criminal conviction for the sale of veterinary anabolic steroids for human use   The veterinarian was censured, and their name was removed from the Register – without a right of reinstatement for five years. 

The veterinarian was also ordered to repay 50% of the cost of the Committee hearing. 
 
Conviction, veterinary medicines  Decision
 VCNZ 16 22 September 1999 The veterinarian supplied prescription animal remedies (PARs) knowing they would be made available to farms/farmers without a veterinary consultation taking place.     The charge of professional conduct was established by the Committee  

The veterinarian supplied 1770 doses of Kefamast Dry Cow Therapy without conducting a veterinary consultation as defined by section 2(1) of the Animal Remedies Act 1967

The veterinarian was censured for failing to ensure adequate systems were in place for the control of the sale of PARs by his practice. 

The veterinarian was censured, fined $3000 and ordered to pay costs of $1936, and to complete retraining on procedures for prescribing and dispensing PARs.
              
Veterinary medicines    Decision
 VCNZ 15 3 March 1999 The veterinarian supplied a prescription animal remedy (PAR) without performing a veterinary consultation.    The charge was dismissed by the Committee. 

A farmer was able to purchase Dryclox without a veterinary consultation taking place as defined by section 2(1) Animal Remedies Act 1967.

The veterinarian admitted the that he was not complying with the Animal Remedies Act and had since changed his clinical procedures.

The Committee considered that the issue was widespread throughout the profession and requested that the Professional Standards Committee of VCNZ establish guidelines for the clinical procedures required for prescribing dry cow treatments. 
 
Veterinary medicines    Decision
 VCNZ 14 16 August 1999  That the veterinarian's treatment of animals fell below the standard of care expected in that they allowed a cat to die without being euthanased in circumstances where it was reasonable to euthanase the animal; failed to properly manage a cat's attempts at birthing which resulted in a cat dying; failed to provide prompt and professional service to a dog injured by a motor vehicle; and failed to provide prompt and professional service to a cat when it suffered a broken leg.  The charge of professional misconduct was established by the Committee. 

The veterinarian was censured, fined $4000 and ordered to pay 50 % of the costs of investigation – amounting to $32,587.30. 

The veterinarian was placed under the supervision of a mutually agreed colleague

The decision was appealed to the High Court and overturned
 
Veterinary services   Decision
 VCNZ 13 12 March 1998 The veterinarian administered a Class 1 prescription animal remedy without conducting a veterinary consultation as defined by section 2(1) of the Animal Remedies Act 1967.    The charge was dismissed by the Committee. 

The Committee concluded that the veterinary consultation performed was inadequate, but that the degree of inadequacy was insufficient to justify a finding of professional misconduct. 
 
Veterinary medicines, veterinary consultation  Decision
 VCNZ 12 7 April 1998  The issued certificate of vaccination against bovine leptospirosis that was misleading.   The charge of professional misconduct was established by the Committee. 

The veterinarian was censured, and ordered to pay a fine of $2500 and costs of $7683. The publication of the clients name was suppressed. 
 
Veterinary medicines    Decision
 VCNZ 11 7 April 1998   The veterinarian sold a Class 1 prescription animal remedy (bovine hardjo/pomona vaccine) without conducting a veterinary consultation as defined by section 2(1) of the Animal Remedies Act 1967. 
 The charge was dismissed by the Committee.   Veterinary medicines, veterinary consultation  Decision
 VCNZ 10 30 October 1997    The veterinarian administered a sodium bicarbonate mixture to a horse on race day.  The charge of professional misconduct was established by the Committee. 

The Committee considered that it was unacceptable to administer a substance to a horse with the knowledge that the substance could affect its performance in the race. 

The veterinarian was found guilty of professional misconduct for administering sodium bicarbonate mixture to a horse on race day. 

The veterinarian was censured and ordered to pay costs of $2500. Name suppression was granted. 
 
Veterinary medicines, professionalism    Decision
 VCNZ 9  No information held on file
 VCNZ 8 1997  The veterinarian (who was employed as a locum) was alleged to have retrieved client information from a practice's computer and then removed that information without authorisation. 
 
 The charge of professional misconduct  was established by the Committee.

 The veterinarian was found guilty of professional misconduct for the unauthorised retrieval and removal of information of a veterinary nature.

The veterinarian was censured, ordered to pay costs of $7,500.
 
Clinical records, professionalism    Decision
 VCNZ 7 1997  The veterinarian failed to prepare and provide a written equine report following a pre purchase examination. 
 
 The charge of professional misconduct was established by the Committee. 

The Committee considered that a competent veterinarian undertaking an equine pre purchase examination has an obligation to provide written reports to a vendor or purchaser. 

The veterinarian was censured, fined $6000, and ordered to pay costs of $1000.
 
 Veterinary services, pre purchase examination  Decision
 VCNZ 6 1 May 1996  The veterinarian administered a sodium bicarbonate mixture to a horse on race day.  The charge of professional misconduct was established by the Committee. 

The Committee was satisfied that the veterinarian had sufficient knowledge of equine practice and sodium bicarbonate, and its potential to alter performance and shorten recovery time. 

The practitioner was censured and ordered to pay costs of $5000.

On appeal to the District Court: The decision of the Council was upheld, but name suppression was granted. 
 
 Veterinary medicines, name suppression   Decision
 VCNZ 5 1 May 1996  The veterinarian administered a sodium bicarbonate mixture to a horse on race day.  The charge of professional misconduct was established by the Committee.  

The Committee was satisfied that the veterinarian had sufficient knowledge of equine practice and sodium bicarbonate, and its potential to alter performance and shorten recovery time. 

The practitioner was censured and ordered to pay costs of $5000.

On appeal to the District Court: The decision of the Council was upheld, but name suppression was granted.
 
 Veterinary medicines  Decision
 VCNZ 1-4  Held under previous legislation and no records held