Jury to deliberate on child assault charges against 73-year-old retired primary teacher

A jury is due to begin its deliberations on Friday in the trial of a 73-year-old retired primary school teacher who is accused of indecently assaulting 13 boys at a school in the Limerick area.

Jury to deliberate on child assault charges against 73-year-old retired primary teacher

The pensioner, who cannot be named for legal reasons, but with an address in Dublin, had pleaded not guilty to 78 counts of indecent assault, however following legal argument, the number of counts he is facing has been reduced to 72.

In all 13 men, now in their late 40s, have given evidence at Limerick Circuit Court, of repeatedly being touched inappropriately by their teacher in a primary school in the Limerick area on dates ranging from September 1978 to June 1981.

The prosecution has argued the alleged victims are credible, truthful, and reliable, with any variations of accounts due to the length of time passed.

Andrew Sexton, defending, has described it as amazing the alleged incidents only came to light in 2010, and claimed there has been contamination of the evidence as there has been a web of meetings between the complainants and memories can be distorted.

In his evidence one of the alleged victims recalled how he was ordered to stand inside a large cardboard box at the top of the classroom during a “so-called court case” after he was caught passing a note in class.

The witness said the “makeshift dock” consisted of a cardboard box with two sides and a front and the back cut out.

He told the court that the teacher asked the class what punishment he should receive and described how while standing behind him he pulled down his pants and underwear and touched his private parts.

“I couldn’t react because I was terrified... I got slapped with leather after he was finished with the ‘so-called court case’,” he said.

Yesterday, Judge John Hannan spent an hour and 44 minutes giving his charge to the jury. It’s expected he will conclude his comments this morning before the jury of seven men and five women retire to deliberate on their verdicts.

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