Doctor admits presenting fake prescriptions

By Sandra Conchie -
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A Tauranga doctor who presented bogus prescriptions to obtain anti-depressant drugs is seeking a discharge without conviction.

Ashley John Hodgson 59, of Papamoa Beach, who appeared in Tauranga District Court today, has admitted five charge of dishonestly using a document.

On five occasions between March 10 and 11 this year Dr Hodgson visited three local pharmacies and on three occasions he was dispensed medications, after he pretended to be two male patients and presented fake prescriptions.

His lawyer Bill Nabney argued for a discharge without conviction on the basis that the consequences of a conviction for Dr Hodgson potentially could be severe, and out of all proportion to the gravity of his offending.

Mr Nabney said his client had not offended for personal gain but because of his addiction.

Dr Hodgson was undertaking counselling at Hanmer Clinic, and also taking medication for a recently diagnosed bi-polar condition, he said.

Mr Nabney said the Medical Council of New Zealand was awaiting of the outcome of the court case, and a criminal conviction would influence the way the Council dealt with the matter.

Police opposed the discharge application.

Sergeant Sean Brennan argued Dr Hodgson's offending was "too great" to warrant escaping a conviction, and the matter should be left in the hands of the Medical Council to decide on whether he should continue to hold a practicing certificate.

No convictions have been entered by Judge Peter Rollo who said he wanted more time to the consider all the matters raised.

Hodgson was remanded at large for sentencing on June 9.

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