Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Teacher cleared of all charges

THE deputy head of a Co Antrim school has been cleared of allegations of indecent assault.

THE deputy head of a Co Antrim school has been cleared of allegations of indecent assault.

Newtownabbey Community High School's vice-principle, Bond Syms may return to his post shortly after the Director of Public Prosecutions decided not to pursue a case against the long-serving geography teacher.

It is understood the school's board of governors will now meet to discuss the investigation and consider lifting Mr Syms suspension.

The respected geography teacher was suspended from his post early this year, after a complaint alleging indecent assault had been made to police.

At that time, a spokesman for the North-Eastern Education and Library Board told Sunday Life that a teacher at the school has received a "precautionary suspension," while a police investigation was ongoing.

The NEELB spokesman also confirmed that the same teacher had been involved in a previous investigation under "inter-agency child protection procedures".

He added: "After investigation, the police decided not to pursue the matter."

And a DPP spokesman last night confirmed that a direction of no prosecution had been made, following the latest investigation.

Police were expected to contact Mr Syms last week, to inform him that he would not face any charges.

The move will come as a relief to the school - previously known as Hopefield, before its 1994 amalgamation with Rathcoole High School - which has been dogged by a number of sex-scandals in recent years.

Hopefield's former headmaster, Jim Nevin, was convicted of indecent behaviour, after being arrested by an undercover cop at nearby Hazelbank Park.

The ex-head was seen rubbing his groin while staring at the plainclothes officer, before inviting the policeman to perform a sordid sex-act.

And sleazy IT teacher Peter Swan was sacked from his job at the school in 1999, when he was convicted of downloading pictures of naked boys onto a laptop computer.

None of the boys was a pupil at the school.

Swan, 57, was fined £2,500 and placed on the sex offenders' register, after his catalogue of shame was uncovered.

cmcguigan@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

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