VERDICT: Teacher found not guilty of classroom acts
A JURY has found an Ipswich teacher not guilty of all four charges of alleged unlawful indecent dealing with students when under his care.
The verdict of the Ipswich District Court jury in favour of teacher Timothy Edward Draper, 51, was reached within two hours of Judge Bernard Porter QC summing up the Crown case.
The sentence concludes a case that Mr Draper has faced since 2016 after four girls made various allegations about his classroom behaviour.
After the student’s accusations, Mr Draper, a relief teacher, was charged with the offences by the police from the Ipswich Child Protection Unit.
He strongly maintained his innocence of the charges – three of which alleged inappropriate touching.
One involved an allegation of an indecent act while seated at a desk.
During his week-long trial, defended by barrister James Benjamin, who described the charges as being “every male teacher’s worst nightmare”, Mr Draper when first interviewed by police defended the allegations in a recorded police interview.
In his defence summary Mr Benjamin said the school had been awash with rumour and hearsay at the time about a video taken inside a classroom.
“He was clear he doesn’t touch his students in the way police were describing. He denies touching them indecently,” Mr Benjamin said in his summing up of the defence case.
The jury also heard that the school authorities did not discuss the allegations with the teacher and nothing was said to him through official channels.
Mr Draper, in the recorded police interview, asks police for information about what was being alleged against him, saying the principal made only “a pretty sharp short phone call” for him not to return.
“I heard nothing through official channels. No student, no parents, no one approached me,” Mr Draper said.
“I’m just baffled by all these allegations.”
When told what was being alleged Mr Draper said the accusations were lies.
Following an application by the Crown and defence to close the court, the media were barred from the courtroom when taped interviews of the students were played to the jury.
When the Crown concluded its case, prosecutor Farook Anoozer said the charges alleging unlawful indecently dealing with a child, and one of exposing a child to an indecent act, involved alleged acts that were not capable of being indecent in themselves, but must be proven to have been done by the teacher to obtain sexual gratification.