Watchdog brings mental health assault to attention of police

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

Allegations of an assault against a mental health patient by a psychiatric worker have been brought to the attention of police by a watchdog group.

Details of the alleged assault were revealed in August at an Employment Relations Authority hearing where Lopiseni Lataimoana Takataka, a psychiatric worker, challenged his dismissal from the Henry Bennett Centre at Waikato Hospital.

The authority upheld the dismissal after a witness gave evidence stating Mr Takataka forced a young psychiatric patient suffering from autism to the ground and held him in a headlock after a verbal altercation.

The patient complained to the Waikato District Health Board, which carried out an internal investigation. Mr Takataka said he had acted in self-defence,

However, after interviewing other staff who witnessed the incident, the health board concluded Mr Takataka had assaulted the patient - constituting serious misconduct - and dismissed him.

The authority's ruling prompted the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, established by the Church of Scientology, to bring the incident to the attention of police.

A Waikato police spokesman confirmed a file had been opened on the allegations and police had request documents on the incident from the Waikato District Health Board.

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