image credit: Kris Reichl
An unlicensed dentist who practised dentistry from a property in North Melbourne for over 10 years has been fined $20,000 in Broadmeadows Magistrate Court where the court heard numerous allegations which included smoking cigarettes during surgery, speaking on the phone, not wearing a face mask or gloves and leaving hands unwashed, according to the Herald Sun.
Concerns about Muhammed Velipasaoglu came to light when a 22 year old disability support pensioner complained about a severe infection she had suffered after receiving treatment from him. Giving evidence at the trial, she said Mr Velipasaoglu “dropped several of his tools, picked them up and continued performing procedures with the dropped instruments.”
The Department of Health and Human Services indicated that it had received more than 150 calls from patients claiming to have received treatment from Mr Velipasaoglu. He pleaded guilty to 17 charges including posing as a registered practitioner, using a protected title, carrying out dental acts and possessing schedule four drugs.
These offences do not carry a jail penalty, which the judge pointedly observed in sentencing. Chief Magistrate Roger Kumar said: “If I had the ability and if I had the power to impose a term of imprisonment, I would have imposed it. If you look at the photographs… I’m not surprised this woman, who paid $1,500 for this service you were not registered to give, did suffer as she did.”
If he had protested his innocence, then the penalty would have been far greater but Mr Velipasaoglu was nevertheless fined $20,000, ordered to pay $13,137 in costs and do 250 hours unpaid community work.
Mr Velipasaoglu was said to have expressed remorse to his patients. He trained as a dentist in Turkey but his qualifications were not recognised when he came to Australia with his wife and two children in 2000.