The Paramedicine Board is reporting that

A former paramedic who continued to work at a remote mine site in Queensland after their registration was suspended was sentenced yesterday after pleading guilty in the Magistrates Court of Queensland.’

I am unable to access the decision of the Magistrate (see Accessing a judge or magistrate’s reasons for decision (November 18, 2016)) so I can add little beyond the Board’s report, which you can read here:

The only useful comment I can make is to explain what it means to impose a fine without a conviction.  The Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 (Qld) s 12 says:

(1) A court may exercise a discretion to record or not record a conviction as provided by this Act.

(2) In considering whether or not to record a conviction, a court must have regard to all circumstances of the case, including—

(a) the nature of the offence; and

(b) the offender’s character and age; and

(c) the impact that recording a conviction will have on the offender’s—

(i) economic or social wellbeing; or

(ii) chances of finding employment.

We don’t know anything about this former paramedic so we do not know what factors, listed in s 12(2), were relevant or how they influenced the Magistrate to impose the penalty without conviction.

The effect is that this person can say that he has not been convicted of any offence. Where there are provisions that apply on conviction they do not apply here. For example, the Australian Constitution provides that a person may not be elected to either the Senate or the House of Representatives if they ‘been convicted and is under sentence, or subject to be sentenced, for any offence punishable under the law of the Commonwealth or of a State by imprisonment for one year or longer’.  Sentences ‘can be very short; however, if the maximum sentence is 12 months or longer, the person is disqualified’ (Professor Anne Twomey, Committee Hansard, Canberra, 8 December 2017, p. 10, cited in Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters The history and interpretation of section 44). The penalty for holding out as a paramedic contrary to s 116(1)(c ) is a fine of $60,000 or 3 years imprisonment.  This paramedic has not been convicted (nor is he still under sentence) for this offence so the disqualification in the Australian Constitution does not apply.

Although he has not been convicted, details of the proceedings appear on the defendant’s criminal history so may be considered if he is convicted of any future offence (s 12(4)(b)). Further if this person were to apply for registration as a paramedic sometime in the future he would have to disclose these proceedings.  The Paramedicine Board’s Registration Standard: Criminal History (17 May 2018) and the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Qld) s 5, defines criminal history to include:

… every plea of guilty or finding of guilt by a court of the person for an offence … whether or not a conviction is recorded for the offence…

This blog is made possible with generous financial support from the Australasian College of Paramedicine, the Australian Paramedics Association (NSW), Natural Hazards Research Australia, NSW Rural Fire Service Association and the NSW SES Volunteers Association. I am responsible for the content in this post including any errors or omissions. Any opinions expressed are mine, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or understanding of the donors.