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Prosecution of Great Harwood teacher defended
10:00am Friday 17th August 2012 in News
THE Crown Prosecution Service has defended its decision to prosecute a deputy headteacher who was cleared of assaulting a pupil.
Royden Cope, 63, was accused of restraining the boy by his wrists and then slapping him across the face at St Bartholomew's CofE Primary in Great Harwood.
The incident was witnessed by another teacher at the school who gave evidence at Mr Cope's trial on Wednesday.
But Mr Cope told Blackburn magistrates the pupil was often unruly and that the boy slammed his head into his hand during a hysterical outburst.
Magistrates found Mr Cope, of Hatfield Road, Accrington, not guilty of assault.
The deputy head was suspended following the incident in March and remains so until the school's headteacher returns from holiday to decide his fate, according to Lancashire County Council.
A Crown Prosecution Service spokeswoman said: "We made a decision that there was sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and that it was in the public interest to proceed to trial.
"This was a serious allegation of assault of a pupil by a senior teacher in a position of responsibility and trust.
"At the end of the prosecution case the defence has the right to argue there is no case to answer but chose not to exercise that right in this trial.
“After hearing all the evidence from both prosecution and defence, including a witness to what happened, the magistrates decided to acquit Mr Cope. We respect the magistrates' verdict."