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Teenage lies put man through court hell

Teacher cleared of assault says case should never have got anywhere near a court. Athalie Matthews reports

A TEACHER acquitted of assaulting a 15-year-old boy after disciplining him in the canteen queue spoke of his anger and disbelief that the case ever went to court.

Bruce Hogan, 54, a science teacher and head of year at Lakers school in Coleford, Gloucestershire, was charged with common assault on February 20 after an incident on November 28 last year.

He was acquitted by magistrates at South Gloucester court last Thursday who found that the boy "had simply not told the truth". They said Mr Hogan had used reasonable force to eject the boy from the lunch hall after he refused to obey a 16-year-old prefect's orders.

Mr Hogan said: "This whole episode has put my life on hold and deprived my pupils of their teacher. Not a day has gone by without me going over and over what I would say in court. This could all have been avoided if the Crown Prosecution Service had followed the police advice not to press charges instead of swallowing the lies of a disruptive 15-year-old.

"The whole process has done the boy in question no favours as he was made to look ridiculous and was branded a liar by the judge."

Despite the fact that police decided not to press charges against Mr Hogan, who has been a teacher for 31 years, the CPS charged him with common assault, based on an allegation by the boy that the teacher had held him by the throat.

After being charged on February 20, Mr Hogan, who earns more than pound;30,000 per year and is training manager at Lakers, was suspended by the school.

The teacher has since spent his days walking his dogs and gardening. Mr Hogan, who is married with two adult step-children, was arrested when he presented himself at his local police station for an interview under caution.

He is still suspended from work and is waiting to hear from the school authorities who have told him that his suspension can only be lifted by the board of governors.

A spokesman for the school said: "We will move the matter forward as soon as possible. The disciplinary committee of the governing body will meet in the near future and hold a full inquiry."

Sir Robert Balchin, chairman of the Conservative party's Education Commission, called for an urgent review of guidelines on procedures if a pupil makes an allegation against a teacher. Currently these favoured pupils and failed to protect teachers, he said.

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