Teacher denies charges of indecently dealing with student

THE Mackay teacher accused of two charges of indecently dealing with an 11-year-old student in 2011 was called as a witness on day three of the District Court trial on Friday.

The teacher, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denied the prosecution's allegation that he had asked the student to perform stretches in a vacant classroom and touched the child's lower back while he was in a gymnastics-style "bridge" stretch.

The teacher also denied ever discussing puberty or underarm hair with the student.

He said he "did not remember" touching the student's desk tidy tray during an incident in which the child has alleged the teacher tapped his penis while his hand was under the tray.

Defence barrister Scott McLennan said the student had been "unreliable", in different interviews, in his accounts of the length of time the teacher had allegedly tapped on his penis.

He also said it was "desperately unfair" that the police and prosecution hadn't interviewed a colleague who the teacher had said was in the next classroom during the second incident.

Mr McLennan said his client had never received any complaints about his behaviour with students during his career, or in the two weeks following the alleged incidents before he was suspended from the school.

In her summary presentation, crown prosecutor Melanie Franklin said just because the teacher had never received any complaints about his behaviour didn't mean the child's allegations in this instance weren't true.

"There's a first time for everything," she said.

Ms Franklin said the student had never behaved like he had a vendetta against the teacher and had been friendly towards him before the first incident.

Judge Richard Jones will continue his summary on Monday before the jury retires.

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