Belfast Telegraph

Retired Dromara school principal Stanley Poots denies 25 fraud charges

By Paul Higgins

A retired headmaster who was awarded an MBE for services to education has denied a raft of fraud allegations.

Standing in the dock of Craigavon Crown Court, 71-year-old Stanley Poots, headmaster of Dromara Primary School for 41 years, pleaded not guilty to a total of 25 offences.

They are 10 of forgery; five of fraud by false representation; three of fraud by abusing the position he held at the school; four of false accounting, two counts of using a false instrument, and possessing an article to commit fraud.

All of the charges are alleged to have been committed on various dates between October 20, 2006 and November 3, 2011.

Among the accusations it is alleged that Mr Poots, whose address was given as c/o Dromara Primary School and who was recognised in the New Year Honours list in 2011, forged an annual salary review, cashed cheques, created false invoices, falsified an expenditure sheet and a Big Lottery Fund application form.

Mr Poots is the former president of the Ulster Teachers' Union.

He retired from his post as headmaster at Dromara Primary School in 2011.

In court yesterday defence barrister Samuel Magee said he would be lodging a defence statement after he had consulted with Mr Poots. He added there were "many complex issues" associated with the case.

Mr Poots was released on continuing bail until the case is next before the court on March 21.

Mr Poots worked for 46 years as a teacher.

He began his career at Dromore Central Primary School before moving to Dromara Primary School, where he was headmaster for over four decades.

The retired principal, who is married with four grown-up sons, served as head of the UTU for a year between 2007 and 2008.

He was also chairman of a Department of Education working group.

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