17 Jul 2015

Teacher cleared of indecent assault charges

5:11 pm on 17 July 2015

The teacher cleared of indecently touching nine girls in his classroom could still face a professional disciplinary process.

Coat of Arms

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

After two days of deliberating, a jury this afternoon returned unanimous verdicts of not guilty to all 18 charges of doing an indecent act on a young person.

The man, aged in his 50s, has permanent name suppression and hugged his lawyer Stephanie Cowdell as he left the dock.

The teacher has voluntarily agreed not to teach.

Now that the criminal process is over, the Education Council will look into the case.

That could result in a range of outcomes but one of those is it could be referred to a Complaint Assessment Committee.

If that happens the committee will look at whether the teacher has acted professionally.

As today's verdicts were read out, there were signs of emotion on some of the faces of the jurors and one wiped tears from her eyes.

The teacher was also emotional as he left court.

Judge Russell Collins thanked the jurors and told them it was not an easy case.

The jurors heard allegations from nine girls during the trial.

They spoke of being pulled on to the teacher's lap and touched.

The Crown said the touching was for the teacher's sexual gratification.

But the teacher said he hugged children and held them on his lap to create a caring classroom environment.

He strenuously denied any of the touching was for sexual gratification.

Judge Collins has suppressed the teacher's name and the school where he worked

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