A nurse, who was found guilty of professional misconduct for engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a patient, has had his period of suspension reduced from three years to 18 months. In allowing the appeal, the High Court noted that imposing a penalty involves issues of finely balanced judgment and it would not intervene unless it was satisfied that the Tribunal's decision was "plainly wrong". The Court found that the Tribunal had not adequately explained its reasons for imposing the maximum period of suspension allowable under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act, and that its failure constituted an error in law and principle. Having examined the various factors, including the vulnerability of the patient at the time the relationship commenced, the nature and extent of the professional relationship, the fact that the relationship which developed appeared to be genuine and loving, and other comparable cases, the Court concluded that suspension for 18 months was the appropriate penalty. The cross-appeal by the Professional Conduct Committee (which sought cancellation of the nurse's registration) was dismissed. Roberts v Professional Conduct Committee [2012] NZHC 3354