Earlier this year, INsite polled readers on the subject, asking: ‘Do you think the man who committed indecent assault on a child in 1986 should be allowed a clean slate so that he can work in the aged care industry?’ Over 78 per cent responded ‘no’ leaving just over 21 per cent thinking that he should be granted a clean slate.
As reported in the Herald, the man, who cannot be named, assaulted the boy in 1986 and was convicted when he confessed a decade later.
He applied to conceal his historical offending under the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 so he could embark on a new career in aged care.
But his request was initially declined by Judge Lawrence Hinton in the District Court, who said it was for aged care providers – not the courts – to make employment decisions.
However, on appeal to the High Court, the man was granted his clean slate.
A psychiatrist, police expert and psychologist, and another doctor – whose name was withheld because they knew the offender personally – all considered the man’s case.
They said he posed a low-risk of reoffending, while work in aged care would be a low-risk environment.
However, affidavits from four aged care employers – each of whom had read the medical reports – said they would not employ the man, irrespective of the expert opinion.
New Zealand Aged Care Association (NZACA) chief executive Simon Wallace said because of the vulnerability of residents, aged care providers closely check a person’s criminal past.
“Ultimately, protecting the safety of residents and employees, and the families that visit our facilities, is of paramount importance to the sector,” he told the Herald.
“Our members follow very robust recruitment processes, which in certain instances will certainly include looking very closely at previous criminal convictions and sexual offending would be a very serious concern.”