Former Dargaville High School principal David Bargh censured over loitering conviction

Former Dargaville High School principal  David Bargh.
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Former Dargaville High School principal David Bargh.

A former Northland principal who was fined for lurking on the property of a female teacher has been censured by a disciplinary tribunal but is still able to teach.

In April last year former Dargaville High School principal David Kenneth Bargh was convicted of unlawfully being in an enclosed yard and fined $1000 with court costs of $130.

He was also convicted on three charges of lurking, loitering or peeping near a dwelling and ordered to come up for sentence if called upon within 12 months. He had pleaded guilty to the charges.

In a just released decision, the New Zealand Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal said Bargh's conduct over an almost four month period was "evidence of a significant deterioration in his mental health, and in particular was a manifestation of his obsessive compulsive disorder, which he managed without significant event for many years".

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"In short, he became fixated with one of his teachers, and took to spending time on her property.

"When questioned by the police, it became apparent that the respondent was somewhat confused, and he was therefore assessed by the mental health team.

"There was no malicious or menacing intent, and in particular there was no sexual motivation."

Alongside the censure, the tribunal imposed other conditions including Bargh having to advise current or future employers of his condition and its appropriate management and continuing to work with his GP to address the medical issues that "gave rise to the events".

At Bargh's sentencing in Whangarei District Court, Jessica McPherson, the teacher at the centre of the case, described lying awake at night, fearing someone was trying to break in and harm her.

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Bargh was spotted in McPherson's property twice at night before being caught and arrested a third time.

McPherson said she felt traumatised and violated. She got to the point where she wished whoever was lurking outside would break in while she was out and take whatever it was they wanted.

"I am only now fully able to comprehend the toll it has taken on my emotional wellbeing," she told the court.

She said she was taking medication for insomnia and anxiety and had had to "psych herself up" just to get out of the car at the supermarket carpark.

Bargh's lawyer Wayne McKean told the court Bargh suffered depression and untreated obsessive compulsive behaviour.

That had spiralled out to the point where his "paternal and caring" checking on the teacher had become compulsive and obsessive, and had made him unhappy.

 - Stuff

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