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Conviction, fine for using fake Massey degree

Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Former student convicted, fined for using fake Massey degree to get job

Massey University will continue to take a firm line against anyone attempting to use fake qualifications or falsely claiming to have qualifications from the University, says Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Research) Professor Nigel Long.

Name suppression was today lifted in relation to a former Massey student convicted last month for using a fake degree scroll to a get job. Hayden Mark Coulton pleaded guilty in the Palmerston North District Court on 6 May to using a document to gain a pecuniary advantage. He had previously denied the charge.

Police told the court Mr Coulton, 29, obtained a job as regional manager of Western Netball in Palmerston North in April last year after providing as part of his curriculum vitae a copy of what was purported to be be a Bachelor of Sports Studies from the University.

But after a news report about his appointment included information about his alleged qualifications, the University began an investigation and found he did not have the qualifications claimed or any degree from Massey. A complaint was lodged with police.

Mr Coulton was fined $750 and ordered to pay $130 costs. His application for permanent name suppression was denied but an interim suppression order was granted to enable him to lodge an appeal against the ruling by the district court judge.

The appeal was dismissed by the High Court today after being abandoned late last week by Mr Coulton and the interim name suppression order lapsed.

"Massey University takes very seriously any kind of misrepresentation of its qualifications and fraudulent use of its scrolls," Professor Long says. "Such actions strike at the integrity of the academic system and the University has no tolerance for any behaviour involving alteration or forgery of a qualification or other official university document with intent to mislead or misrepresent."

Conferring of degrees and other qualifications is a matter of public record and any prospective employer wishing to obtain verification that a Massey University qualification presented to them is genuine should contact the University.


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