Sydney School: Jury Dismissed In Trial Of Math Teacher Accused Of Unlawful Sexual Activity

Sydney School: Jury Dismissed In Trial Of Math Teacher Accused Of Unlawful Sexual Activity

Former Sydney Math Teacher's Trial Disrupted: Jury Dismissed Due to Defense Barrister's Health Concerns

Siksha MUpdated: Monday, January 22, 2024, 07:09 PM IST
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At the Downing Centre district court, the jury has been discharged in the trial of a former mathematics teacher accused of engaging in unlawful sexual activity with a student at an elite Sydney high school. The decision, deemed "very unusual" by Judge Sophia Beckett, stems from concerns about the health of the defence barrister, raising questions about the fairness of the proceedings.

According to The Guardian reports, addressing the jury on Monday morning, Judge Beckett explained, "I am discharging you because I have reached the view that the accused cannot have a fair trial." This marks the third instance, in her four and a half years as a judge, where Beckett has dismissed a jury, with one previous occurrence linked to the challenges posed by the Covid pandemic.

Former Maths Teacher faces carnal knowledge charge

The accused mathematics teacher, whose identity remains legally protected, was facing allegations of forming a sexual relationship with a minor who had been their pupil in 1984. The specific charge is one count of carnal knowledge, to which the teacher has pleaded not guilty.

As reported by The Guardian, the unexpected development follows five days of hearings, including the cross-examination of the complainant. Crown Prosecutor David Patch asserted that the student, who turned 17 in 1984, had been groomed by the teacher from their initial meeting, leading to a series of alleged sexual encounters before August 1984.

Complainant's evidence reserved for subsequent trial

With the discharge of the jury, the trial's future now hangs in uncertainty. The complainant's evidence and transcripts from the aborted trial are slated for use in a subsequent trial. Judge Beckett anticipates the next trial to take place within the next six to 12 months, but a specific date has yet to be determined.

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