Jury retires in teacher trial

JURORS in the trial of a teacher at a Suffolk boarding school accused of kissing a student passionately on two occasions is expected to continue its deliberations today (Thurs).

JURORS in the trial of a teacher at a Suffolk boarding school accused of kissing a student passionately on two occasions is expected to continue its deliberations today (Thurs).

Before Ipswich Crown Court is 45-year-old Stuart Barley who has denied two offences of abusing a position of trust by having sexual activity with a child under 18.

The alleged victim and the name of the school cannot be identified for legal reasons.

In court yesterday, Barley, a father of two with 24 years teaching experience, denied that he had deliberately plied the victim with alcohol at a school party so he could take advantage of her.

He accepted that he had given her one glass of wine more than the three she was allowed to have but denied it had been any more than that.

Asked if he had deliberately tried to get her drunk so that he could take advantage of her, Barley said; “That's completely wrong. I provided one drink for her. I had no sinister intention towards her.”

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The court has heard how Barley, is alleged to have become infatuated with one of his pupils and exchanged flirtatious text messages and e-mails with her.

On Valentine's Day he allegedly sent her a text message saying: “This is your free hugs and kisses voucher valid for two weeks” and on another occasion hid her favourite sweets around her bedroom, the court heard.

David Wilson, prosecuting claimed that on two occasions Barley abused his position of trust and “crossed the pupil/ teacher line” by kissing her on the mouth.

On one occasion the incident was witnessed by another pupil who reported what she had seen to senior staff the next day and the police became involved.

After his arrest Barley denied ever kissing the girl on the lips and claimed that on one occasion he had given her a kiss on the cheek to say “thank-you” for lending him the memory stick and on the second had merely been giving the girl a “reassuring hug” because she was upset following an argument with another pupil.

The jury retired to consider its verdicts late yesterday afternoon and is expected to return to court today (Thurs) to continue its deliberations.

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