The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (“Tribunal”) found that the Practitioner behaved in a way that constitutes professional misconduct after he:

  • declared on five occasions when applying to renew his registration that he had met the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements when he had not;
  • declared on four occasions when applying to renew his registration that he held a current first aid certificate when he did not; and
  • then provided false information to the Chiropractic Board of Australia (“Board”) when asked to provide a copy of his CPD records as part of its investigation, stating that his computer crashed, and the documents had been lost. This statement was false as there were never CPD records on the Practitioner’s computer because he did not complete any CPD during this time.

The Practitioner had been registered and practising as a chiropractor since 1979 and said that he considered the available CPD modules to be inadequate for the purpose of improvement of his own competencies and doubted that CPD would improve his practice after 40 years. Further, the Practitioner said that the obligation to renew his first aid “slipped by” him and admitted that he attempted to deceive the investigator in the “hope it would go away”.

In reaching its findings, the Tribunal noted that it is not for the practitioner to:

  • determine whether or not to comply with professional regulatory obligations;
  • second guess the usefulness or worth of those requirements;
  • then attempt to deceive the regulator when he or she has not done so.

The Tribunal considered that the Practitioner displayed a somewhat arrogant approach to his professional obligations and showed limited insight. There was no excuse or mitigating factors.

While the Board and the Practitioner jointly proposed that the Practitioner be required to pay a fine of $5,000, the Tribunal determined that a fine of $7,500 properly reflects the serious nature of the conduct and address its concerns around the limited contrition and remorse shown by the Practitioner. The Tribunal also ordered that the Practitioner be reprimanded and that conditions be imposed on his registration requiring him to provide evidence of CPD compliance to the satisfaction of the Board for a further period of five years.

Chiropractic Board of Australia v Knowles (Review and Regulation) (Corrected) [2019] VCAT 1317