Catherine Gaffaney is a general reporter based in Auckland.

Radiologist who fled US child sex predator charge, has medical registration cancelled in Australia

Max Mehta practised in New Zealand under the name Dr Robert Taylor after changing his name by deed poll in 2007.
Max Mehta practised in New Zealand under the name Dr Robert Taylor after changing his name by deed poll in 2007.

A radiologist whose New Zealand medical registration was revoked after it was discovered he was wanted for child sex grooming charges in the US continued to practise in Australia for more than a year.

Max Mehta practised in New Zealand under the name Dr Robert Taylor after changing his name by deed poll in 2007.

He was reportedly charged with grooming a 15-year-old deaf girl for sex after an online chatroom sting in Dallas, Texas, in May 2004.

The alleged victim turned out to be a police officer posing as a child and Mr Mehta was arrested when he arrived at an address he believed to be the girl's home.

He skipped bail and fled to New Zealand, but managed to pass police, immigration and work history checks to gain citizenship and work for a district health board.

A Tairawhiti District Health Board spokeswoman confirmed Mr Mehta, practising as Dr Robert Taylor, was employed by the board as an off-site radiologist consultant up until early 2014.

He had worked for the health board for "quite some years" until his contract expired in early 2014, the spokeswoman said. The majority of Mr Mehta's work for the health board was done remotely from Australia.

A Canterbury DHB spokeswoman confirmed Mr Mehta also worked for Canterbury Medical Imaging - now Canterbury Community Radiology.

Mr Mehta was removed from the New Zealand medical register in late 2014, meaning he could no longer practise in New Zealand.

He was still able to practise in Australia, despite being found to have forged signatures on medical accreditation documents with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and the Royal Australian New Zealand College of Radiologists in January 2013.

After a suspension and being ordered to complete an ethics course, he was allowed to continue working in Australia while still being investigated.

A decision released by the Western Australia state administrative tribunal this month found Mr Mehta had made false applications and statements to Australian medical authorities, and that this conduct, combined with the charges he still faces in the US, were inconsistent with him being a fit and proper person to hold a medical registration.

The tribunal ordered for Mr Mehta's Australian medical registration to be revoked, disqualified him from applying for registration for two years, and ordered him to pay $5000 to the Australian Medical Board.

Mr Mehta's whereabouts is unknown.

- NZ Herald

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