Tribunal deregisters, censures pharmacist

A pharmacist who served a home detention sentence for Misuse of Drugs Act offences had his registration cancelled yesterday by the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal.

Samer Moustafa Dabous, of Dunedin, yesterday admitted a charge brought by the professional conduct committee at a hearing in Dunedin.

Mr Dabous (35) told the tribunal he was receiving counselling for addiction and wanted to practise again once his life was stable.

He wanted to regain the trust of the professional body.

He had liked the job because it helped people.

He apologised for damaging the reputation of the profession while he had been on the ''wrong path''.

His registration has been suspended since late 2011.

The professional conduct committee argued it should be cancelled because of the seriousness of the offending.

In the Auckland District Court last May, Mr Dabous was convicted for possessing class C controlled drugs (diazepam, cannabis and triazolam) for sale on or about December 4, 2011, and for possessing class B controlled drugs (morphine and Ritalin) for supply on or about December 4, 2011.

Mr Dabous told the tribunal he had ''lost everything'' as a consequence of the offending.

Originally from Syria, Mr Dabous said the offending occurred during armed conflict in his country, when he was worried about friends and family.

He also suffered from depression.

He was on a sickness benefit and had little money.

Tribunal deputy chairman Ken Johnston, of Wellington, said Mr Dabous' openness about his personal issues was appreciated.

After an adjournment the tribunal gave its finding, a spokeswoman confirmed after the hearing.

As well as having his registration cancelled, Mr Dabous was censured and ordered to pay about $4075 towards the tribunal's costs, and about $3125 towards the professional conduct committee's costs.

The tribunal took into account Mr Dabous' difficult financial position.

The tribunal had carefully weighed up whether to cancel the registration.

Suspension could not be continued indefinitely as it was limited to three years.

Mr Dabous would be able to reapply for registration at a suitable time when rehabilitated.

''It wasn't to punish him, but it was to allow him time to get himself back on the straight and narrow.

''And also, of course, most importantly ... [it was] to protect the public,'' the spokeswoman said.

A written decision from the tribunal will be issued in due course.



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