A desire to find love drove a health sector professional to indecently assault his daughter.

He knew he was wrong and is apologetic for the hurt he has caused.

He pleaded guilty In the district court and was sentenced to seven months' home detention and today faced censure by the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal.

The man, who name is suppressed, was not in Wellington for the hearing, instead dialling in over the telephone.


Heavy court suppression orders protect the victim's identity, so the man's exact occupation and where he lives cannot be reported.

But it can be revealed the man admitted doing an indecent act against his daughter, who was aged under 12 at the time of the offending earlier this decade.

The man offended against her over a two- to three-week period by indecently touching her.

At the tribunal, the man was asked why he did it. He has no other criminal convictions and no record of ill-discipline at work.

"I don't like talking about it because it's possible for somebody to take it out of context and say I have not taken responsibility or that I blame somebody else and that's not the truth," he said.

"I was in a marriage that I was committed to but I was empty and I got nothing from it and I gave myself to everybody else around me and I had no hope for the future and I couldn't see a way out and I'd given up on a lot of things and being happy and feeling loved was one of them."

When the man touched his daughter, he felt love.

"It literally was an accident but it gave me something I didn't think I was going to feel again," he said.

It might have started accidentally but the man then continued touching his daughter. It became sexual and the man knew it would get worse, so stopped going into his daughter's bedroom.

"I shocked myself. I was absolutely horrified and that's what stopped me from offending again."

In his own mind, he minimised what happened, telling himself his daughter was asleep and he hadn't harmed her. But last year she confronted him and asked him to tell the truth.

He now has no contact with his daughter or other children, whom he hadn't offended against, but said he supported them financially.

"I have been a fantastic father to my children, except for those three weeks of my life."

The man admits a disciplinary charge of being convicted of an imprisonable offence that adversely reflects on his ability to practice.

Professional conduct committee prosecutor Jo Hughson said the man should be suspended for at least a year, have conditions placed on a return to health work and have to pay some costs.

The man apologised for what he'd done and said he would accept whatever punishment was ordered.

He was keen to return to his health work in the future, but hadn't thought that was a possibility. Instead, he was training as a truck driver and was confident of getting a job when his home detention finished.

He was now cash-strapped, living on $150 a week.

Ms Hughson told the tribunal the man's practising certificate had expired and he wasn't working in his professional field, having completed his last shift in January.

The man was a competent health worker, the tribunal heard, and he spoke of his love for his job and caring for patients.

The tribunal is deciding what penalty to impose.