Teacher accused of assaulting girl found not guilty

27th January 2012 at 00:00
Sheriff could not attach a `badge of credibility' to alleged victim's evidence

A teacher accused of a string of physical assaults on a 10-year-old girl in his P6 class walked free from Stirling Sheriff Court on Tuesday.

Christopher Scott, 33, had been accused of turning on the girl after being brought in as a supply teacher at her Stirling Council school in September 2010. But he was found not guilty after a trial that ran to three days of evidence.

He was accused of grabbing her arm and twisting the skin, tipping her off her chair, and tripping her, on a series of occasions between then and March 2011.

The girl - who gave evidence by video link - claimed he used to "hurt her a lot" and left what looked like burn marks and finger marks on her upper arms.

A classmate said he would tell the class to turn away before assaulting the girl, and spoke of seeing him give her a "Chinese burn".

The headteacher (who cannot be named for legal reasons to protect the pupil's identity) said the girl's behaviour had gone downhill a month after Mr Scott arrived.

Mr Scott, a father-of-three from Braco, in Perth and Kinross, denied assault and claimed the allegations were the result of a "vendetta" by the headteacher, and that his alleged victim and her classmates were lying.

He told his solicitor that within a week of his arrival at the school the girl had begun causing him concern, by refusing to do what he asked and refusing to comply generally.

He said he attempted numerous "teaching strategies", such as giving her praise and asking staff for advice.

He admitted he had occasionally shouted at her out of "anger and frustration".

When asked if he had ever laid a hand on her, he replied: "Certainly not. If I laid my hand on a pupil I could be dismissed."

He added: "It is abhorrent to think I would do that to a child. I was very angry when the allegations were made."

He said the head of education called to tell him that allegations had been made and he would be suspended pending an investigation, but that it was not until the next month that he was told what the allegations were or by whom they had been made.

During cross-examination by depute fiscal Emma Whyte, he was asked why the girl's behaviour got worse.

"I think she reacted badly to having a male teacher," he said.

Sheriff Wyllie Robertson said he was uneasy about the evidence of all three pupils who testified, as they were "good friends" and each spoke of separate alleged attacks. He ruled out their evidence.

Of the alleged victim, he said: "I do not attach a badge of credibility to her evidence, and she was particularly poor when questioned on more of the details of the case."

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