Teacher cleared in pupil fight

A teacher accused of attacking a pupil in a Norfolk village has been cleared by magistrates who said they did not believe a word the boy had said.Science teacher Tony Bown, from Hobart High School, Loddon, was accused of “squaring up” to the 15-year-old and punching him in the face at Norwich Magistrates' Court.

A teacher accused of attacking a pupil in a Norfolk village has been cleared by magistrates who said they did not believe a word the boy had said.

Science teacher Tony Bown, from Hobart High School, Loddon, was accused of “squaring up” to the 15-year-old and punching him in the face at Norwich Magistrates' Court.

Forty-year-old Bown of Norwich Road, Chedgrave, denied using threatening and abusive behaviour intending to cause fear of unlawful violence on May 5. The pupil, who cannot be named for legal reasons, faces a similar charge.

But returning a not guilty verdict today, magistrates said: “We believe you were in support of the youngster and we do not believe any element of the charge against you.”

Earlier the court had heard how the youth had boasted about enjoying fighting on internet social networking site Bebo.

Defence solicitor Ian Fisher produced a quote from the 15-year-old's Bebo profile which said: “I am fifteen. I like being about with my mates and I like fighting.”

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Richard Paterson, prosecuting, said that Bown had been to Newmarket for the day and arrived back at the Kings Head pub in Loddon that evening. He claimed there was “friction” between Bown's party and others attending a birthday party for the landlord's 16-year-old daughter.

There was an alleged dispute between a young woman related to the 15-year-old victim and some others. He said Bown was drunk and wanted to “sort it out”. He pushed the youth and hit him in the face.

However, Mr Paterson said Bown, who is also a retained fire fighter, came off worst. One of the witnesses, Sean Warman, said he saw no injuries to the youth. He was shown photographs of Bown's injuries and agreed he had “got a hiding”.

In a statement to police, Bown said the youth had sworn at him and called him a “disgrace”. He claimed he was tripped and tried to get up to push the youth away. But he was kicked in the head and passed out.

The teacher has worked in the village for 14 years and said he had never had any problems with the youth at the school.

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