Bid to seek dope decision review fails

Last updated 10:49 23/05/2014

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A student who was expelled after being caught smoking dope during school hours, but not on school grounds, has lost his attempt to challenge the decision in the High Court.

The Palmerston North Boys' High School student, then 16, was suspended and subsequently expelled by the board of trustees' disciplinary committee last December.

That prompted his mother to seek a judicial review of the decision.

After being caught by police smoking marijuana with a group of other students the pupil, who was dressed in uniform, was returned to school.

At a disciplinary hearing he was suspended by rector David Bovey, despite the boy apologising and his mother explaining there had been difficulties after the recent death of two family members and a young lady stalking the boy.

The mother suggested her son not be suspended, but subjected to random drug testing, but Bovey refused.
The board then met to consider whether the boy could continue to attend the school, deciding that expulsion was the appropriate decision.

During the High Court hearing the boy's lawyer Toby Manktelow argued the suspension outcome was pre-determined and the board had used unlawful processes and ''inflexible policy''.

But in his decision released this morning, Judge Alan MacKenzie dismissed the application for judicial review stating he was satisfied the board's decision was made appropriately.

He ended his decision by noting that the boy was clearly a ''young man with a promising future'' and the conduction had been out of character.

''I express the hope that he will be able to respond positively to this unfortunate setback, and to put it behind him so that it does not affect his future.''

The student has been attending the school pending the outcome of the review.

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- The Dominion Post

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