Page last updated at 14:05 GMT, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 15:05 UK

Teacher overdoses ahead of trial

A former schoolteacher accused of sexually assaulting his pupils has taken an overdose of paracetamol tablets hours before his trial began.

Stephen Douglas-Hogg from Filey, North Yorkshire, is in intensive care after he was found unconscious by police.

Southwark Crown Court has withdrawn a warrant for him following the incident.

Mr Douglas-Hogg faces 17 charges of indecently assaulting five boys aged under 14 during the 1980s at St Paul's Cathedral Choir School in London.

The defendant is in intensive care and there's no possibility in the immediate future that he's going to walk out of hospital or be discharged
Judge Michael Gledhill QC

The former teacher was due before the court on Monday but hours before his appearance police found him unconscious lying on the floor of his hotel room in London.

Judge Michael Gledhill QC withdrew the warrant, which was issued on Monday, and placed him on bail as the severity of Mr Douglas-Hogg's condition was disclosed.

Judge Gledhill said: "I'm going to withdraw the warrant for the reason there has been a serious attempt of suicide.

"The defendant is in intensive care and there's no possibility in the immediate future that he's going to walk out of hospital or be discharged."

Nicholas Barker, for defence, said: "He's still unconscious in an intensive care unit.

"There's no prognosis at the moment. The staff at the hospital are continuing to filter his blood.

"In their words it's early days as to what might happen," he said.

The judge said holding a trial in absence would be unfair to Mr Douglas-Hogg's family.

The case has been adjourned until 16 October when the former teacher is due to appear for a mention.




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