Human Rights Review Tribunal,  NZHRRT 34, (17 October 2016)
The Director of Proceedings filed proceedings by consent against Mr Niu Isaako Taleni in the Human Rights Review Tribunal. Mr Taleni accepted that his actions amounted to a breach of the Code and the matter proceeded by way of an agreed summary of facts. The Tribunal was satisfied that Mr Taleni failed to provide services to the aggrieved person with reasonable care and skill and issued a declaration that he breached Right 4(1) of the Code.
The aggrieved person was a young adult diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, seizure activity, and global developmental delay. He was non-verbal, had complex needs and challenging behaviour, and required constant one-to-one care. He was a high flight risk and had a fascination with petrol and fire. The aggrieved person lived at home with his mother (Mrs R) and received individualised funding for one-to-one respite care. Mrs R privately engaged Care Group Ltd, a provider of home-based support services, to assist her. Mr Taleni was a support worker independently contracted by Care Group Ltd to provide disability support services to another high needs client. In September 2012 Care Group Ltd also engaged Mr Taleni to provide support services to the aggrieved person while his usual support worker was away. Mr Taleni provided these services in his (Mr Taleni's) home. Mr Taleni understood that he was only allowed to care for one client at a time, however on more than one occasion he looked after his two high needs clients at the same time without the knowledge of Care Group Ltd and his clients' families. On Friday 9 November 2012 Mr Taleni again looked after both clients at the same time. Mr Taleni deceived Care Group Ltd into believing that he was only looking after his first client while a replacement person approved by Mrs R was looking after the aggrieved person. In the evening, Mr Taleni left both clients locked alone and unsupervised in his house while he left to collect food for them. While he was gone, a fire broke out at his home. Both clients were unable to get out of the locked house and, sadly, the aggrieved person died in the fire while the other client suffered burns.
Expert advice found that Mr Taleni was responsible for the care of very vulnerable clients and failed severely to provide adequate care to the aggrieved person. Mr Taleni made some very poor decisions about risk and knowingly went against the express directions of Care Group Ltd when he knew the aggrieved person required one-to-one care and constant supervision.
The Tribunal's full decision can be found at:
Last reviewed February 2019