TEACHER TRIAL LATEST: verdict imminent

Graham School Teacher William Stuart approaching Scarborough Magistrates' Court this morning. 113733b
Graham School Teacher William Stuart approaching Scarborough Magistrates' Court this morning. 113733b

MAGISTRATES are considering their verdict following the trial of a Scarborough teacher who is alleged to have assaulted a disobedient female pupil.

William Stuart, 47, of Stepney Road, an assistant headteacher at the Graham Raincliffe Federation, gave his evidence at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court this morning.

He told the court that the alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, repeatedly barged into him and threw a punch at him before she stumbled and ended up on the floor during the incident in a corridor at the school at lunchtime on March 21.

Stuart said: “She thrust two arms towards my head. I deflected that by moving my arms across her arms.”

He said that the girl falling in to coat pegs was “a possibility”, but denied that he had lost his temper and shoved her.

He also told the bench of his 23 years in teaching and commitment to the profession.

Closing the case for the prosecution, Jessica Strange said that of the four people who had witnessed the incident, only Stuart had said he had not assaulted the pupil.

She said: “There are some differences in the accounts of the three girls, but that doesn’t mean they are dishonest.

“All three describe that the defendant was aggressive and angry throughout and assaulted the complainant.”

Ian Glen QC, defending Stuart, questioned the credibility of the witnesses which the Crown relied on.

“William Stuart found himself in an unfortunate and difficult situation,” Mr Glen said. “The context is a lawful exercise in school discipline.”

He also pointed out contradictions between what the alleged victim had told the court and what the two witnesses had said.

This morning, the court heard evidence from Garry Hancock, the school’s headteacher, who praised Stuart’s professionalism and said there had been no previous official complaints against him.

Graham Raincliffe Federation deputy headteacher, Olwyn Harrison, who was in a meeting with the pupil, her mother and Mr Hancock following the incident, described seeing slight injuries on the pupil’s back which she believed were consistent with falling into pegs.

Magistrates are currently in deliberations and a verdict is expected this afternoon.