Ex-teacher not guilty on charges

AFTER a lengthy deliberation in excess of eight hours, the trial of a former Stanthorpe senior school teacher finally came to a close late Friday afternoon.

During the course of the trial, the District Court sitting in Stanthorpe heard the former male teacher allegedly initiated sexual contact in the form of a bet with a former student.

The court also heard the alleged sexual acts took place both inside and outside a school classroom and various forms of contact were made between the defendant and the complainant through MSN Messenger and email.

The alleged offences were said to have occurred between February 28, 2006, and January 1, 2007.

At the opening of the trial last Monday the defendant pleaded not guilty to all six charges.

The jury requested on Friday to re-hear certain elements of evidence before they found the defendant not guilty on a charge of rape and not guilty on charges of indecent assault.

Throughout their deliberations on Thursday and Friday, the jury twice came to the conclusion that a unanimous verdict could not be reached and was subsequently allowed a majority vote as a means of reaching a verdict for the ex-teacher.

Judge Tutt, of the District Court, stressed the importance of reaching a decision from the 12 jurors, saying previous trials had shown a verdict could be reached given sufficient time.

He then sent the jurors back to deliberate for a final time at 5pm Friday, urging them to reach a verdict on the basis of a majority vote.

The jury emerged after further deliberations later in the evening and unanimously found the defendant not guilty on the charge of rape and used the majority rule to find him not guilty on the other indecent assault charges by a vote of 11-1.

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