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Fake psychiatrist should face extradition

Hon. Dr Nick Smith Nelson MP

18 October 2004

Fake psychiatrist should face extradition

The police should extradite fake psychiatrist Linda Astor from Poland to face fraud charges, says Nelson MP Nick Smith after TVNZ's Sunday programme found her in Poland.

"It is extraordinary that journalists have found Ms Astor, but the proper New Zealand government agencies have not," Dr Smith says.

"It is insulting to the hundreds of victims, particularly the family of murder victim Fiona Maulolo, that New Zealand authorities do not consider the fraud offences sufficiently serious to extradite this person.

"I am deeply suspicious that the real reason this matter is not being pursued is that any trial of Ms Astor will expose the incompetence of the Medical Council, and Nelson and Hutt Valley health authorities for grossly inadequate employment procedures.

"Ms Astor lied about her experience and qualifications, and provided fraudulent documents to secure senior positions. She defrauded the taxpayer of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"Most significantly, Ms Astor breached the trust of hundreds of patients who thought she was bona fide. The emotional scars of this person's behaviour will be left with hundreds of New Zealanders for the rest of their lives.

"It is difficult to comprehend a more serious fraud than pretending to be a psychiatrist, and prescribing very powerful mind-altering drugs to hundreds of patients.

"We need to send a powerful message that New Zealand will not tolerate overseas doctors faking their experience or qualifications. We also need to ensure Ms Astor does not repeat this offending in other parts of the world.

"We owe it to the memory of Fiona Maulolo to see that justice is done," says Dr Smith.

ENDS

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