Retired headmaster Stanley Poots MBE to face trial on 25 fraud charges
A retired headmaster who was awarded an MBE for services to education has been ordered to stand trial on 25 allegations of fraud.
A solicitor for 71-year-old Stanley Poots, headmaster of Dromara Primary School for more than 40 years, previously told Lisburn Magistrates Court "these matters are denied and will proceed to trial", and yesterday the pensioner declined to comment on them.
Mr Poots, whose address was given as C/O Dromara Primary School on the Hillsborough Road in the town, faces a total of 25 offences - 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 offences are alleged to have been committed on various dates between October 20, 2006 and November 3, 2011. Among the charges it is alleged that Mr Poots, who received his gong in the 2011 New Year's Honours list, forged an annual salary review, cashed cheques, created false invoices, falsified an expenditure sheet and a Big Lottery Fund application form.
Mr Poots, a former president of the Ulster Teachers' Union who retired from his post as headmaster in 2011 after 41 years, confirmed that he was aware of the charges and that he did not object to the preliminary enquiry committal hearing.
Yesterday a prosecuting lawyer submitted that based on the papers before the court on the new charges, there was a prima facie case for Mr Poots to answer, a submission which his solicitor took no issue with.
Releasing Mr Poots on his own bail of £500, District Judge Rosie Watters returned the case to Craigavon Crown Court and ordered him to appear there on February 4 for arraignment.
Stanley Poots worked for 46 years as a teacher. He began his career at Dromore Central Primary School before moving to Dromara Primary School.