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Last Updated: Friday, 13 July 2007, 20:09 GMT 21:09 UK
'Torture' monk appeals conviction
Michael Murphy
Murphy physically abused his victims
A former monk has appeared in court to contest his conviction for torturing children more than 40 years ago.

The Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh heard how Michael Murphy, 73, worked at St Ninian's school in Stirlingshire.

In 2003, Murphy, known as Brother Benedict, was found guilty of giving children painful jolts with an electrical gadget.

At the appeal, Lord Osborne said he may have once owned a similar gadget.

Murphy's legal team claimed that part of the reason why he did not get a fair trial was because the electrical apparatus could not be produced in court.

When I was a small boy you could buy in toy shops a device which was, in effect, an electrical transformer
Lord Osborne

Defence QC Ronald Clancy said there was no opportunity for experts to examine it and show that it was harmless.

Judge Lord Osborne interrupted to say: "When I was a small boy you could buy in toy shops a device which was, in effect, an electrical transformer."

The judge explained how a ferrous core could be slid into and out of the transformer, altering the current.

The idea was for someone else to see how long they could hold the wires before the tingle became too much for them.

"I had one of those things," Lord Osborne said.

Legal directions

Murphy, who now lives in Liss, Hampshire, also claims he should not have been convicted because so many of his accusers failed to identify him in court.

He has also criticised some of the legal directions given to the jury by trial judge Lord Carloway.

The former monk was found guilty of 10 charges of assault on nine boys while working as a welfare officer at St Ninian's List D School, Gartmore.

Five of the charges involved the use of electric shocks.

St Ninian's
The victims attended St Ninian's in Stirlingshire

He was sentenced to two years in prison but spent only nine days in jail before being released on bail to await the outcome of his appeal.

After three days of legal argument Lord Osborne, sitting with Lords Macfadyen and Marnoch will give their ruling, in writing, at a later date.

During the trial, a jury heard stories from former pupils who were at St Ninian's in the 1960s when they were mostly aged between 10 and 12.

The school has since closed.

As well as Brother Benedict's electric shocks, the pupils were whipped with knotted laces and made to eat their own vomit.

One boy's arm was broken when the monk lost his temper over a cheeky comment.

A woodwork teacher at the same school is appealing against a jury's verdict that he sexually abused boys there.

Charles McKenna, 87, of Stirling, was also jailed for two years but later bailed pending the outcome of his appeal which will be heard at a future date.


SEE ALSO
Abuse charge monk released
23 Jul 03 |  Scotland
Anger over abuse sentences
14 Jul 03 |  Scotland
Ex-monk found guilty of abuse
20 Jun 03 |  Scotland
Monk stands trial on abuse charges
02 Jun 03 |  Scotland

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