Saturday, July 30, 2016

Another dubious prosecution by British police

They are under feminist pressure to "crack down" on rapists -- so even a mentally ill accuser was taken seriously! Appalling police work

A highly respected geography teacher wept today after a jury took just 26 minutes to clear him of repeatedly raping a pupil at an £18,000 a year public school.

Kato Harris, 37, was accused of attacking the teenager three times after inviting her to stay in the classroom during the lunch break for chats.

Harris was working as the head of geography and assistant head at the private girls’ school in north London at the time of the allegations, Isleworth Crown Court heard.

He insisted it was ‘completely impossible’ to have carried out the attacks as staff and students could see into the room and the door would have been open during the lunch break.

Harris, who is currently suspended from his job at a school in Berkshire, said strict guidelines prevented staff and pupils from even being alone together.

Asked if there was any possible motive for the girl making up the allegations he said it may have been revenge after he mocked her ‘silly face’ in a school photo.

A jury of seven men and five women at Isleworth Crown Court took just 26 minutes to clear Harris of three counts of rape in the autumn term of 2013.

Harris wept and sank to his knees as the verdicts were read out, while his supporters in the public gallery also sobbed and applauded.

Judge Martin Edmunds QC thanked jurors for their service.

The allegations emerged after the girl moved to a new school and staff became concerned about her unhappiness, panic attacks and eating habits.

She told the court she had struggled with bullying at the school, which made her want to leave.

She said: ‘I started getting bullied in year seven, that got dealt with, then I got bullied again.’

Asked why she left the school, she replied: “I was having panic attacks multiple times a day and didn’t feel safe.’

Her family’s lawyers brought in ex-Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers - who spent 36 years with the Metropolitan Police - as a private investigator who sought to guide officers on how to conduct the case, the court heard.

When in April 2014 the house mistress told the girl she suspected sexual abuse, the teenager replied: ‘Maybe’.

The girl finally came forward after visiting the head’s office on 3 December 2014.

Sally Hales, QC, prosecuting, said: ‘She wanted to tell her about it, but couldn’t speak. ‘The teacher told her she would leave the room, and that she should write it down.  ‘When she came back in, the teacher was handed a piece of paper with three words on it “I was raped”.’

The girl struggled to tell her story during a police video interview but wrote the allegations down. She said in her statement: ‘I was raped three times. It was in a geography classroom but I cannot remember which one exactly. ‘We were talking about geography or school and then it just happened before I could do anything. ‘He forced me on the floor and he started having sex with me. He pulled off my tights and underwear.’

She added: ‘I was scared and shocked, I didn’t know what was happening. ‘Nothing was said all three times.’

She initially refused to tell officers the name of her attacker but described him as ‘tall, with dark curly hair, a geography teacher, and his 40s’.  She then confirmed the teacher’s name when asked.

Speaking via videolink, the alleged victim earlier told jurors she attended treatment because of the attacks in New York every day for a year.  She said: ‘I didn’t name Mr Harris in his first interview as I couldn’t say his name. ‘Only after therapy in America that I could say it. ‘I fly to New York every week to see a psychiatrist.’

Harris had told jurors it was school policy to avoid being left alone with pupils in classrooms, and the building would be too busy for an attack. He said: ‘It’s school policy to keep our doors open, all teachers were provided with door wedges. ‘She doesn’t have a form room in the corridor, I don’t think she had lessons in the corridor either.  ‘400 girls would have been in the building. ‘I didn’t rape her, anywhere, ever.’

William Clegg, QC, defending, asked Harris: ‘How possible would it be for someone to rape a pupil without being observed?’

Harris replied: ‘Completely impossible.’

Mr Clegg then asked about the possibility of it occurring three times.  Harris answered: ‘Even more completely impossible.’

He broke down in tears in the dock as colleagues praised him as an ‘outstanding teacher’ and a ‘passionate guy’.

Giving evidence as a defence witness for Harris, the former headteacher said the accusations were ‘unbelievable, adding: ‘He did his job extremely well. He was a passionate geographer. Every day he had a packed classroom.

‘As a teacher, he was outstanding, bordering on brilliant. Pupils adored his lessons.

‘He was a problem-solving member of staff. If I were still a headteacher, I would employ him in a heartbeat

Original report here

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