3 Sep 2008

Ambulance staff to be vetted by police

8:07 pm on 3 September 2008

St John Ambulance has introduced police vetting for all staff who have contact with the public after one of its former paramedics was found guilty of sexually assaulting patients.

The ambulance service says it does not tolerate behaviour of this type and treats all complaints seriously.

A jury at Auckland District Court found the 35-year-old former paramedic guilty of six sexual assault charges on Wednesday.

The 35-year-old was charged with violating five women in the back of an ambulance in Auckland in 1999 and 2000.

The jury found the man guilty of six counts of indecent assault, four of which were on a 16-year-old schoolgirl who had been injured in a car crash.

He was cleared of sexual violation and four other indecent assault charges.

The man has name suppression until he is sentenced in October. He has been granted bail and leave to apply for home detention.

Outside court, Detective Sergeant Andy King says although he is disappointed the man was not found guilty of all charges, he is pleased the man will be punished.

Mr King says the former ambulance driver was in charge of sick and injured people, and committed a massive breach of trust.

He praised the victims for their bravery in coming forward.