A nurse who touched an "acutely vulnerable" and drug dependant patient and masturbated over her as she lay in a hospital bed has been accused of professional misconduct.
The 33-year-old lower North Island nurse, who has interim name suppression, said the patient initiated the sexual activity and that he "couldn't do anything" to stop it.
The woman was in hospital to detox from drugs and alcohol and was going through varying states of withdrawal during her stay.
The morning after the incident she woke up in a state of disorientation and said she had been sexually assaulted.
The nurse was charged with indecent assault and sexual violation and was put on trial before a jury, but the charges were dismissed.
The judge found guilty verdicts based on whether or not the woman had the ability to consent were unsafe verdicts. The decision acknowledged sexual activity had taken place, and no finding was made on consent.
Now the nurse has been hauled before the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal, where he faces a charge of professional misconduct.
Counsel for the Director of Proceedings, Kerrin Eckersley, said whether the woman initiated the sexual activity or not, the nurse had still committed misconduct.
While he accepts he masturbated over the woman in the hospital bed, he denies keeping his hands on her, violating her, and hugging her.
Giving evidence today, the nurse said the woman hugged him and placed his hands onto her body. He said she repeatedly told him to have sex with her, and that he was worried if he said no she would tell someone he had assaulted her.
After the incident he continued his work, which included assessing her withdrawal levels and administering medications to her.
Eckersley said the patient awoke the next morning confused as to her whereabouts.
"She was oriented by a nurse who had taken over her care ... upon being oriented [she] began to cry, and then reported to the nurse an allegation of sexual assault."
The patient said the nurse had kissed and cuddled her, and told her she could have more Diazepam if she kissed him. When questioned she said she didn't want to come across as "racist" but that the nurse was not her type.
In evidence, the nurse said he was "so helpless" and "so shocked" when the incident happened.
He described his remorse for what he did, saying it was his responsibility to maintain professional boundaries, and he had failed.
Eckersley said the nurse had multiple opportunities when he could have left, but he instead chose to masturbate on his patient.
"There was no other way that I could escape," the nurse replied.
The hearing will continue tomorrow.