Page last updated at 05:39 GMT, Thursday, 20 May 2010 06:39 UK

CPS defends Neath teacher glue stick trial decision

Lynda May
Lynda May said the trial had taken a toll on her health

The Crown Prosecution Service has defended a decision to prosecute a Neath teacher after a boy accused her of hitting him with a glue stick.

Lynda May, 54, was cleared at Swansea Crown Court of assault causing actual bodily harm by hitting the pupil with a tube of glue during an art lesson.

The CPS said the decision to prosecute was in the public interest and a judge had decided there was a case to answer.

Mrs May's union said common sense had prevailed when she was acquitted.

The court had heard the boy, who has behavioural difficulties, had sworn at her and become difficult while engaged in an exercise cutting shapes and sticking them with glue.

He had banged down the glue tube onto a desk and had caught her hand in the process.

Mrs May said in court she had tried to show the boy the inappropriate nature of his actions by bringing the tube down on the desk in a similar way, but he had moved his hand and she had accidentally touched him with it.

It was in the public interest to put the matter before the court, given the position of trust of the defendant and the nature of the allegations against her
CPS spokesman

The boy was taken to hospital but only had superficial injuries.

A spokesman for the CPS said they had reviewed the evidence and decided it was sufficient to warrant a prosecution.

"It was in the public interest to put the matter before the court, given the position of trust of the defendant and the nature of the allegations against her," he said.

"The child was taken to the local hospital, where staff X-rayed his hand and cleaned and dressed the wound.

"The CPS said that this case was suitable to be heard in the magistrates' court, but the defendant chose to be tried in the crown court.

"The judge decided that there was a case to answer, so the case ran its full course and the verdict was a matter for the jury, who heard all of the evidence and made their decision which, of course, we respect."

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) said after the trial it had to be considered whether the whole process had been justified in terms of evidence, cost and time, not to mention the personal cost and anxiety to Mrs May.

David Evans, NUT secretary, said: "All allegations, particularly when they are brought by a child, must be investigated.

"But it is the nature of the investigation and the recommendations that it should be pursued through to a crown court trial that must be brought into question."

Mrs May said after the trial it had taken a toll on her health and she would be taking a rest for a while.



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