September 7th, 2016 ~ Vol. 85 No. 35
Dr. Johannes Maritz cleared of charges
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
"The Group"
Pass Herald Reporter
A Crowsnest doctor whose legal troubles got him barred from practising medicine signed a peace bond last week in exchange for having a list of criminal charges withdrawn.

A court document says the criminal charges against Dr. Johannes Maritz stem from a list of alleged incidents that occurred over a period of about three years.

The list of charges was not immediately available but the peace bond states that the complainant is a Crowsnest resident

A justice of the peace imposed the peace bond under section 810 of the Criminal Code, which was signed by Maritz.

Under it, Maritz will have no criminal record if he follows certain undisclosed conditions, which typically include “keeping the peace” and maintaining his distance from the resident for a period of time.

About a year after the alleged offences occurred, the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPSA) put four sanctions on Maritz’s medical practice that remained in effect from May 27 to July 24, 2016.

After July 24, he was completely restricted from practicing medicine but reasons for the restriction are not public information.

Despite his run-ins with the law and the CPSA sanctions, a lot of Crowsnest residents want to see Maritz back at work. The South African born physician has served the community out of the Mountainside Medical Clinic on main street in Blairmore for over 20 years.

In July a group of citizens formed an organization called “The Group,” and launched a campaign to support the doctor.
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Gord Kennedy, The Group’s spokesperson, said his organization has over 150 members. It held a garden party in August to show support for the doctor. Maritz, members of his family and over 100 guests were in attendance.

On the afternoon of Aug. 30, the day Maritz signed a peace bond, The Group invited citizens to sign a petition asking the CPSA to lift the sanctions against Maritz. Kennedy said they collected over 150 signatures.

Kennedy said Maritz voluntarily surrendered his medical licence in July believing he would be quickly cleared of the charges and allowed to resume his practice.

“The general feeling is that this is outrageous,” said Kennedy. “We just want him to get back to work. We need him as our doctor and he’s a good man.”

Kennedy said the signing of the peace bond was the first step in getting Maritz back to practising medicine.

“This is a very important to get things moving,” he said. “We’re optimistic now that the [CPSA] will get to work.”

Kelly Eby, director of communications for the CPSA, said she was prevented from elaborating too much on Maritz’s sanctions by privacy legislation contained in the Health Professions Act.

However, Eby explained that in cases when a physician is charged with a criminal offence, the CPSA’s primary goal is to protect the public. In order to do this, the college can impose practice conditions such as requiring a doctor to be chaperoned at work.
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The CPSA can also temporarily suspend a physician while it conducts an investigation or the physician may also voluntarily withdraw from practice. The college may then wait for the closure of the court case before conducting an investigation.

If a physician commits a serious breach of professionalism, a disciplinary hearing may be scheduled. Physicians who go to a disciplinary hearing may receive sanctions, which could include limitations on their practice or fines. They may also be required to attend educational courses or take additional training.

If and when Dr. Maritz is scheduled for a disciplinary hearing, that information will be published by the CPSA, she said.

Details about the reasons for the hearing would not be made public until the hearing is complete and the hearing tribunal issues a written report. The college has enormous power over the province’s doctors. It has the ability to temporarily suspend a physician or, in extreme cases, to permanently strike a physician from the register.
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September 7th ~ Vol. 85 No. 35
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