A New Zealand dentist has been found guilty of making a female patient touch him sexually while she was sedated.

However, the South Island dentist is still practicing and has interim name suppression until the court reaches a decision, The Press said today.

The Dentists Disciplinary Tribunal found the man guilty of professional misconduct over the 2001 incident in which the dentist made her touch his penis.

Two similar complaints against the dentist, relating to incidents in 1984 and 1989, were not upheld because of lack of proof.

The dentist claimed in his defense of the 2001 charge that the sedative caused sexual hallucinations in his patient.

The tribunal rejected this claim as "unlikely" and said the woman involved in the 2001 charge was a "credible witness", while the dentist's evidence was "less compelling".

New Zealand Dental Association chief executive David Crum said the case was "extremely unusual" and there were "good reasons" why the man's name suppression remained.

The tribunal can stop the dentist from practicing and impose a fine of up to $3,990.

The dentist declined to comment but confirmed he was still practicing, according to local reports.A decision on the penalty is more than a month away, they said.

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