25 November 2022

Ex-nurse manager at Braidwood hospital has registration cancelled after horse whip attack

| Albert McKnight
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Kings Highway

The former nurse manager of the Braidwood Multi-Purpose Service Hospital has had his registration cancelled. Photo: File.

A former nurse manager at Braidwood’s hospital has had his nursing registration cancelled after he attacked a woman with a horse whip.

Robert Richardson worked as a registered nurse at the Braidwood Multi-Purpose Service Hospital from 2006 before becoming a nurse manager in 2014, a recent decision by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal states.

In 2020, he was found guilty of one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm by the Queanbeyan Local Court and sentenced to an 18-month conditional release order, but wasn’t given a conviction.

In May of that year, the woman had ended a relationship with Richardson, but had to remain at a property for a few days before moving out.

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She was making a cup of tea in the kitchen when Richardson walked in with a metre-long horse whip, yelled at her and called her a “Babylon’s whore” and a “slut”.

He used the end of the whip to hit her three times on her leg, causing pain and bruising.

The woman eventually locked herself in the house and started collecting her belongings after Richardson had run outside, but he soon returned. As the doors were locked he smashed his way inside through the laundry window then chased her around the house while still holding the whip.

The Nursing & Midwifery Council of NSW suspended his nursing registration in September 2020.

Afterwards, the Health Care Complaints Commission went to the tribunal and asked for his registration to be cancelled for 12 months, alleging in part that he had been the subject of a criminal finding and was guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct.

Richardson didn’t go to the hearing against him, nor did he answer his phone when the tribunal called him twice while it was being heard in September 2022.

The commission argued that domestic violence was intrinsically serious, antithetical to the conduct of nursing and of a kind which should be found to render Richardson unfit to practice.

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The tribunal ultimately found each of the commission’s complainants about Richardson was established and cancelled his nursing registration for six months. He cannot ask for a review of that order for that time.

“We suspect that had the practitioner appeared, exhibited remorse and demonstrated some insight into his conduct it is possible that we may have imposed a lesser protective order, such as suspension or a reprimand,” the tribunal said.

“We have come to the conclusion, given the objective seriousness of the conduct, that to maintain public confidence in the profession, the appropriate protective order is a short period of cancellation.”

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