Tusitha Karunaratne – Disqualification for 10 years for professional misconduct

22nd January 2019

Tusitha Karunaratne – Disqualification for 10 years for professional misconduct.

The Health Care Complaints Commission prosecuted a complaint against Tusitha Karunaratne, a formerly registered dentist, before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (“the Tribunal”).  The complaint alleged that Dr Karunaratne:

• Inappropriately touched a female patient (Patient A) with sexual motivation during a dental consultation in 2001;
• Inappropriately touched a female patient (Patient B) with sexual motivation during a dental consultation in 2002;
• Had been convicted in 2008 of criminal offences against a person he was in a close personal relationship with (Person D), including assault, use of an offensive weapon and sexual intercourse without consent, resulting in a 4 ½ year term of imprisonment; and
• Inappropriately touched a female dental assistant (Person C) with sexual motivation in 2015.

The Commission also alleged that Dr Karunaratne was not a suitable person to practise dentistry.

On 21 December 2018 the Tribunal published its decision and found all of the complaints proved.  The Tribunal stated that the finding of professional conduct made “is of a most serious and egregious kind, commencing in 2000, and manifesting itself most recently in 2015.”

As Dr Karunaratne was not registered at the time of the Tribunal’s orders, the Tribunal disqualified him from being registered for a period of 10 years.  It also prohibited him from providing any other health services as defined under the National Law.  In making the prohibition order, the Tribunal stated “in that Dr Karunaratne’s behaviour has been directed to vulnerable female patients and vulnerable female persons and that it constitutes predatory sexual misconduct,” and determined that it is appropriate to make such an order.

The decision is available at NSW Caselaw.

Further Information

For further information, contact the Executive Officer of the Health Care Complaints Commission, on 9219 7444 or send an email to media@hccc.nsw.gov.au.

The information in this media release is correct at the time of publication. Orders may change; for example, conditions may no longer apply. For current information regarding the status of a registered health practitioner, including any conditions that currently apply, please check the National Register at www.ahpra.gov.au.