Doctor appeals against   findings
Appeal: David Roberts. Picture: The West Australian

A renowned paediatrician who was found guilty of telling the parents of twin nine-year-old boys to "beat them to within an inch of their lives" has launched an appeal against the findings against him.

David Roberts has for years been considered one of WA's leading paediatricians, while also serving as chairman of not-for-profit Nature Play WA, and was the former paediatric chairman of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians WA and a former Australian Medical Association State president.

Dr Roberts was last month found guilty by WA's State Administrative Tribunal of three disciplinary charges brought over notes he wrote to the parents.

In one, he described one boy as a "sooky la la" who needed to "toughen up princess".

In another he wrote: "I recommend to your husband that he beat (physically) each and any of you our sons (sic) who swear and offend his wife (that is Mother) . . . to within in (sic) an inch of his life."

The SAT has yet to pass down a sentence, but a hearing yesterday was told Dr Roberts had already appealed.

The case revolved around the two boys, whom Dr Roberts had diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in 2008. The tribunal was told in 2010, Dr Roberts gave the boys' mother the two notes which were derogatory and recommended corporal punishment - which the Medical Board of Australia said amounted to professional misconduct.

In his defence, Dr Roberts told the tribunal his reference to physically beating the twins each was "speaking not humorously but metaphorically".

"It was a recommendation that the patients' father take an active role in defending his wife's honour," the tribunal reported.

The tribunal found Dr Roberts guilty of the lesser charge of unprofessional conduct, finding the note "put the patients' health, safety and welfare at risk".

Judge Tim Sharp adjourned the hearing for further consultation.

The West Australian

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