45 year old Maria Power was arrested and charged with five counts of impersonating a medical practitioner. Power is the first person in Queensland to be charged with this offence in relation to providing false COVID exemptions. The exemptions allow persons to avoid undergo COVID testing, receiving the vaccine or wearing a mask in public.
It is alleged that Power would charge $150.00 per exemption and issued over 600 exemption certificates.
Power has a PhD however is not a registered medical practitioner.
Power was charged under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law. Amendments were passed in February of 2019 by the Queensland Parliament under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2019 (Qld) (the Act). The new provisions apply in all states and territories, but for Western Australia.
Under the laws, anyone who calls themselves any ‘protected title’ such as a medical practitioner must be registered with the corresponding Board.
It is a criminal offence to use a ‘protected title’, it is also an offence to knowingly or recklessly claim to be a registered practitioner or use language that may lead a reasonable person to believe the individual is a registered health practitioner. The offence under Section 113(1) and (2) of the Health Practitioner Regulation National
Law Act 2009 holds a maximum penalty of $60,000.00 or 3 years imprisonment.
Power is due to appear in the Southport Magistrates Court on 28 October 2021 in relation to these charges.
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