20 Oct 2021
The Victorian and Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has confirmed a decision of the Medical Board of Australia to suspend the registration of a Melbourne neurologist and physician facing sexual assault charges.
The Medical Board of Australia (the Board) took immediate action to suspend Dr Jacques Joubert on 15 March 2021 after he was charged with nine counts of sexual assault related to a consultation with a patient. The Board believed the suspension was necessary to keep the public safe.
The charges were in relation to a patient who had previously made a notification to the Board about Dr Joubert on 19 June 2018. The patient had alleged that Dr Joubert had improperly touched his genitalia during a consultation on 6 June 2018, without providing any explanation for doing so.
On 9 July 2018, the Board decided to take immediate action and imposed gender restriction conditions on Dr Joubert’s registration to prevent him from seeing male patients.
The gender restrictions operated until the suspension decision was made on 15 March 2021.
On 17 March 2021, after the Board decided to suspend his registration, Dr Joubert filed an application in VCAT for review of the Board’s decision to suspend his registration. He also applied for a stay of the Board’s decision pending the outcome of the review application.
On 13 April 2021, VCAT granted a stay of the operation of the Board’s decision to suspend Dr Joubert’s registration. Accordingly, at the date of the review proceedings, Dr Joubert’s registration was not suspended but was subject to the gender-based restrictions that were in operation prior to the suspension.
The Practitioner’s reasons for the appeal were that he is no risk to the public as his registration is already subject to gender-based restrictions; he is entitled to a presumption of innocence; and suspension does not constitute the minimum force necessary.
On 12 August VCAT delivered its decision on this matter finding:
The tribunal’s decision was published on the Austlii website on 30 August.