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Teacher acquitted in slapping allegation – The privacy dilemma


The reports of a local teacher being acquitted of hitting one of his pupils, calls into question again the way that our court cases are reported.

The name and picture of the teacher, who has been in teaching for many years, was published at the point of charge and again at the point of acquittal.

The senior teacher, who is 63, has been named but the school he works for cannot be reported for legal reasons and neither the child or family concerned in the allegations.

In this case the court process decided to acquit the teacher after he has already been suspended from work for several months.

The teacher said that the youngster, who cannot be named, was probably the worst behaved pupil he had taught in more than 40 years.

There is no question that these cases need to be investigated and taken to court where there is evidence of a crime. Is the system fair though? Only the teacher’s name has been dragged through the press and although everyone is innocent until proved guilty, is it right that a question mark against a teacher’s integrity and behaviour was published in the first place?

Is the balance of the scales between freedom of the press and free speech and the right to protect your name or professional reputation tipping the wrong way?

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