Ex-teacher's name suppression extended

ROB KIDD
Last updated 17:16 30/05/2014

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A former teacher accused of doing an indecent act in his classroom at a prominent Auckland school has won his battle to keep his name secret for another two months.

The 48-year-old appeared in the Auckland District Court this afternoon where Judge Claire Ryan granted him name suppression after lengthy submissions.

Because of the sensitive material discussed by the man's lawyer, Richard Earwaker, the judge suppressed all details disclosed during the hearing.

Publication of the man's name would have "devastating consequences" for members of his family, she said.

The former teacher's wife wept in the public gallery throughout the hearing and she and the defendant embraced when the matter concluded.

When the ex-teacher appeared two weeks ago, he pleaded not guilty to a charge of wilfully doing an indecent act.

It is alleged that in June last year, the man committed the offence in a classroom at the school.

He will be back in court in August when a date for a judge-alone trial is likely to be set.

When the teacher first appeared last month, a spokesman for the New Zealand Teachers Council said the council was "well aware" of the situation and a full investigation into the man's actions would take place after the criminal proceedings.

The school at which the defendant worked suspended him shortly after the alleged incidents took place, and he resigned a month later when the Teachers Council got involved.

The council's spokesman said the man had signed a voluntary undertaking not to teach and a council disciplinary tribunal had formally ordered an interim suspension in December after its preliminary investigation.

When a teacher is charged with a criminal offence of this kind, the Teachers Council receives a report on the matter (usually from the teacher's employer) and conducts an initial investigation.

It then decides on any interim action and the matter proceeds to a full investigation and a disciplinary tribunal hearing after the criminal case is complete.

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