Dr allegedly paid $35k in hush money to vulnerable patient

The New Zealand doctor, who has interim name suppression, appeared before the Disciplinary Tribunal yesterday, charged with having a sexual relationship with a vulnerable patient, and interfering with a health and disability commissioner (HDC) investigation.

The doctor denies the charges.

HDC director of proceedings Aaron Martin told the tribunal the doctor began a sexual relationship with the patient, who has chronic and debilitating anxiety, in June 2008.

On one occasion the doctor filmed the two of them having sex, Mr Martin said, and the video will be used as evidence in the hearing.

"[The doctor] actively took advantage of her vulnerability and dependence on him, abusing his position of trust and power to begin a sexual relationship with her," he said in his opening submission.

While the doctor, his wife and the patient were in Australia, the wife uncovered the affair, and made arrangements for the patient to return to New