Another black mark for former nurse found with child porn

A former nurse jailed for possessing hundreds of child sex abuse images and then stripped of his licence has been further censured.

Milton David McClelland, who served two months of a 10-and-a-half month sentence imposed in early 2019, was then stripped of his nursing registration.

McClelland had been a registered nurse in New Zealand since 1996. He was convicted in January 2019 on charges in relation to possessing, exporting and creating objectionable material and for using his phone to film an objectionable video.

Although only 470 images were found, Customs officials believed there may have been as many as 5300 images on the Dannevirke man's computers at some point.

Following his conviction, he was censured and stripped of his licence by the New Zealand Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal, which felt his crimes affected his ability to practise.

Yesterday he was further censured in relation to a breach of his post-release conditions, for which he was convicted, also in 2019. Not long after his release from prison McClelland left his address for a couple of days and failed to report it.

McClelland was not present at yesterday's tribunal hearing, conducted via audio visual link, nor did he have any representation. The tribunal reached its conclusion an hour and a half after the hearing opened.

Debate centred on how to impose a penalty on McClelland, described as now homeless, which would appropriately reflect the breach in the eyes of the profession, and the public.

The tribunal heard the breach was egregious in the context of the offence for which he had been sentenced.

Counsel for the Professional Conduct Committee, which brought the fresh charge on behalf of the Nursing Council of New Zealand, said McClelland's failure to comply with a term of his release was neither acceptable from a public safety aspect, nor was it acceptable for a registered nurse – which McClelland still was at the time - to flout the law in that way.

The breach occurred before the initial tribunal hearing which stripped him of his licence.

The tribunal heard that it was conduct inconsistent with the trust the public might expect of someone in the profession.

Counsel for the PCC said it was a "significant departure from the legal, professional and ethical standards expected".

It also revealed a lack of insight, reflected poorly on the profession and a sanction was therefore warranted to demonstrate the conduct was not acceptable.

Tribunal chair Royden Hindle said the current case could really only serve to reinforce the earlier decision to cancel McClelland's registration. He said there was little scope to impose a condition which might prevent any future attempt by McClelland to seek re-registration, because the charge being heard did not give the tribunal any power to cancel his registration – that had already happened.

He said it would have to be up to the Nursing Council to be aware of the facts should McClelland seek to be re-registered.

McClelland had earlier indicated he received a pension and did not plan to work again.

The tribunal censured him further and ordered him to pay costs of $3850, which was on top of the $4500 costs order from the previous tribunal hearing and decision.

-By Tracy Neal
Open Justice multimedia journalist

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