There was huge relief last week when a prosecution which took an agonising year to come to court resulted in the acquittal of our client after a two day trial at Newcastle Under Lyme magistrates. The Headteacher, who had a 30 year unblemished career, was accused of assaulting a year 9 pupil and causing criminal damage to his clothing when he restrained him by holding on to his hoody to prevent him from leaving a dugout which the pupil had earlier jumped on.
This was a finely-balanced case as several pupils and two members of staff present at the incident gave evidence which suggested our client may have lost his temper, but following skillful cross-examination from Julian Lynch of Cornwall Street Barristers representing the teacher the judge rejected that evidence and found that our client’s actions were reasonable and without blame. He accepted our clients evidence that he feared the pupil, who had a poor behavioural record, may have caused injury to others had he not been restrained. The judge found there was a risk to others, to property and to good order and discipline. Given the teacher’s right to use reasonable force in such circumstances under section 93 of the Education & Inspections Act 2006 he dismissed both charges and awarded the defence costs, which he said he would not have done had he thought any fault at all accrued to our client. The local press report is here
We were pleased to clarify this important statutory protection for teachers attempting to keeping order. This result also maintained our 100% success rate in securing acquittals for members of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) in the criminal courts.