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Accused psychiatrist pleads not guilty on fake cv charges
Mike Mather
November 23 2015

Psychiatrist Mohamed Shakeel Siddiqui

Psychiatrist Mohamed Shakeel Siddiqui

The man accused of faking his qualifications to practice as a psychiatrist for the Waikato District Health Board will not have his case concluded until March next year at the earliest.

Mohamed Shakeel Siddiqui was back before the Hamilton District Court on Monday for the seventh time since his initial appearance in July,

The 54-year-old has some fresh charges. He already faces charges of obtaining by deception, as well as charges of producing forged documents and using forged documents.

One of the three new charges states that between January 19 and July 14 this year, he “used a title, namely psychiatrist, implying that he is a health practitioner of a particular kind.”

He also faces two counts of using an altered passport between August 12 last year and January 22 this year.

Siddiqui’s date of birth – according to police charging documents – is May 5, 1961.

At the behest of Judge Noel Cocurullo, Siddiqui’s counsel Kerry Burroughs entered pleas of not guilty to all charges and elected trial by jury.

He will next appear in court for a case review hearing on March 23.

Cocurullo said he was mindful Siddiqui’s case had been before the courts since July, and ordered that a plea be entered on the basis that the situation needed to be expedited.

Siddiqui was due to enter a plea to the earlier charges in the Hamilton District Court in October, however he was on that day granted a further adjournment without plea by Judge Philip Connell to prove what the judge described as the “bona fide-ness” of his qualifications.

At Monday’s appearance, both Burroughs and prosecutor Leanna Darby told the judge that getting those qualifications either confirmed or disproved was proving a slow and difficult process, and they were having to work with the United States and Indian governments, as well as Interpol, to obtain the necessary documentation.

“The USA effectively closes for Christmas,” Burroughs said. “January is a difficult time to get information from them then. The wheels are turning very, very, very slowly.”

At another of his earlier appearances, Burroughs said his client’s relationship with the health board had started to falter following a July 12 email he had sent to board management, regarding the safety of patients.

Siddiqui had worked for six months in the crisis, triage and home-based treatment services and was responsible for triaging all contacts with mental health services. Not long before the charges were laid his supervisor at the health board had earlier resigned from that position.

On Friday, July 24 – the day before he made his initial court appearance – Siddiqui had tendered his own resignation to the board, saying his mother in India was terminally ill.