Failed nurse posed as cosmetic therapist
A Chinese immigrant who came to Australia to qualify as a nurse instead fraudulently posed as a qualified cosmetic therapist after failing three times to finish a nursing course.
But Luzhen Wang, 29, escaped a criminal conviction after her lawyer convinced a magistrate a conviction could harm her job prospects and attempts to become a permanent resident.
Wang faced Holland Park Magistrates Court on one charge of forgery and uttering after she was found with four fake certificates on the wall of her salon.
She also was charged with 16 counts of possessing restricted drugs used for cosmetic procedures, some of which have to be injected.
The long list included drugs banned in some countries for their serious side effects.
Police prosecutor Carmel Massingham told the court the drugs included hydroquinone, a skin whitener banned in 2007 in the United States, although now taken off the banned list.
The list also included five antibiotics, a commonly-used veterinary drug also prescribed for men with erectile disorders, and another skin whitener, glutathione, which is banned in some countries.
The Office of the Health Ombudsman separately took out an interim prohibition order against Wang on May 7, accusing her of being an unregistered practitioner practising as a cosmetic therapist.
The Ombudsman banned her from providing any health service, paid or otherwise, in a clinical or non-clinical capacity.
DRUGS WANG ALLEGEDLY POSSESSED
Hyaluronic acid - dermal filler which can cause severing of nerves and micro blood vessels if improperly injected
Hydroquinone - skin whitener linked to some cancers
Yahimbie - veterinary drug used to revive dogs, made from the bark of an African tree which is sometimes prescribed for erectile dysfunction
Lidocaine - anaesthetic which can cause low blood pressure
Biometric peptides - skin anti-aging products, effectiveness disputed
Dexamethasone - anti-inflammatory drug
Adrenalin - commonly used to treat severe allergic reactions but also used to reduce swelling
Tranexamic acid - treatment for blood loss
Gentamicin - antibiotic
Polylactic acid - exfoliant used on the face
Azithromycin - antibiotic
Chlorphenamine - antihistamine usually used to treat hayfever
Glutathione - antioxidant used for skin whitening, banned in the Philippines and some other countries. Dispute over whether it actually works
Cefalexin - antibiotic
Clindamycin - antibiotic used for mild to moderate acne
Ofloxacin - antibiotic used for skin infections
Wang's lawyer told the court his client came to Australia in 2014 to study nursing but, despite three attempts, did not complete her qualifications.
He said she had managed only to obtain sporadic work but had applied last month for permanent residency.
He tendered letters of reference from Wang's aunt and cousin attesting to her good character and their surprise that she would commit such crimes.
Wang also did not realise her actions were illegal, he said.
Acting Magistrate Grace Kahlert said a significant number and quantity of drugs were involved.
"It was set up to be run as an injecting business,'' Ms Kahlert said.
"You pretended you had nursing and other qualifications which might have misled members of the public to think you could perform cosmetic surgery.
"I think the offending is very serious. It's a significant forgery and it had the potential to put members of the community at risk.
"I'm not persuaded a fine is a deterrent to Ms Wang and to members of the community (contemplating similar acts).''
Ms Kahlert ordered Wang serve 100 hours of community service but did not record a conviction, after taking into account her early guilty plea, the impact on her employability and prospects of becoming a citizen.
Wang was ordered to contact the probation officer at Mt Gravatt.
Originally published as Failed nurse posed as cosmetic therapist