25 Mar 2022
A Victorian Magistrate has issued a warrant for the arrest of a man who failed to attend court today to front charges of holding himself out as a registered occupational therapist.
Charles Duku has been charged by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) following allegations that he falsely claimed to be a registered occupational therapist in obtaining employment and working as an occupational therapist at multiple locations.
The charges are indictable and can carry a maximum penalty of three years prison.
Ahpra and the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia work together to protect the public by ensuring that only registered health practitioners who are suitably qualified and fit to practise can claim to be registered.
Mr Duku was due to appear in the Sunshine Magistrates’ Court yesterday to answer the charges. Magistrate Bhai was satisfied that Mr Duku had been given sufficient notice of the hearing and noted that he had not made an appearance. She therefore issued a bench warrant.
Now that a warrant has been issued, police have the power to arrest Mr Duku in order to bring him to court to face the charges.
Falsely claiming to be a registered health practitioner is a criminal offence under the National Law1.
Anyone can search the Register of practitioners at any time. Employers are strongly encouraged to check the registration status of all their health practitioner staff before they start work.
1 Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory.