Sex offer wasn't misconduct, real estate tribunal rules

8:14 pm on 20 September 2016

A real estate agent who offered casual sex to a mother waiting for food at a McDonald's has been found not guilty of misconduct.

Despite handing the woman his old Harcourts business card, the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal has ruled Gurpreet Singh's actions did not relate to his work.

In March 2013, Mr Singh approached the woman at a McDonald's car park in Manuwera while she waited for an order with her two daughters.

They talked through her car window about their respective children and Mr Singh showed her photographs of his own daughter.

When the woman's eldest went to pick up the food, the tribunal heard Mr Singh gave her a copy of his old Harcourts business card, which included a photograph of him and his cell number, and said: "If you want casual sex, no strings attached, here is my card."

The woman said she was "dumbfounded" by his behaviour and drove off after telling him she would never contact him.

She said she was "outraged and disgusted" that her youngest daughter heard what was said.

She subsequently made a complaint to the Complaints Assessment Committee, and also attempted to contact Mr Singh's wife about what he had said.

She tried calling the cell number on the business card, but he answered and made an excuse as to why his wife could not come to the phone.

When confronted by the committee, Mr Singh initially denied the woman's account and said he had been "set up" by her and Harcourts.

He voluntarily suspended his real estate licence two months after the incident.

He did not attend the tribunal's hearing.

In its decision, the tribunal found the woman's account of what happened was likely true, but dismissed Mr Singh's misconduct charge.

The committee argued Mr Singh had brought the real estate industry into disrepute, but the tribunal said his conduct "did not relate to real estate agency work".

The tribunal nevertheless said his actions were "clearly inappropriate, and offensive" and ruled if Mr Singh wanted to reactivate his licence, he must "undergo an appropriate educational course explaining the principles of ethics".