A schoolteacher has been returned for trial in respect of a number of offences relating to an alleged inappropriate relationship with a pupil, which it is contended her parents were fully aware of.
Aged in his twenties, the accused cannot be named, nor can the school at which he first encountered the pupil, in order to protect her identity.
He is charged with three counts of sexual assault along with single counts each of meeting the child following a period of grooming and intentionally engaging in sexually touching a child.
Offending is alleged to have occurred on various dates between May 1 and October 18, 2022.
He first appeared in court following his arrest last year and while the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending were not disclosed, a detective constable objected to bail, explaining the teacher had written a number of letters to the pupil and “it would appear he is quite infatuated with her”.
While a defence barrister accepted the situation had caused legitimate concerns he informed the court his client’s dealings with the pupil in the school setting “is not in dispute. A new teacher took over the class and my client left. Any relationship post-dates his employment at the school”.
He added the pupil’s parents were fully aware of the relationship and it was only when his client ended this by way of a text message on October 24, she attended with police.
The judge on that occasion found this worrying and stated that “children, by virtue of their age, cannot consent. Nor can parents consent on their behalf and there are very good reasons for that”.
Following consideration however it was agreed bail could be granted in the sum of £500 along with conditions including a complete ban on all contact with the pupil, her family, staff at the school she attends and any person aged under 18.
He must reside at an address known to police at all times and is prohibited from undertaking any teaching role including from an extra-curricular perspective.
During a committal hearing at the most recent sitting of Dungannon Magistrates‘ Court a prosecuting lawyer said there is a case to answer which was agreed by District Judge Michael Ranaghan.
The accused spoke only to confirm his identity and that he understood the charges against him.
Judge Ranaghan remanded him on continuing bail to attend for a committal hearing at Dungannon Crown Court a date to be fixed next month.