Ex-teacher denied chance to clear name over sex offences

Teacher denied chance to clear name over sex offences

Teacher denied chance to clear name over sex offences

First published in Local

A DISGRACED schoolteacher who was convicted of a string of sex offences against young boys has been denied the chance to clear his name by top judges.

Jonathan Phillip O'Brien, 56, was accused of numerous sex crimes at private schools Winterfold House School, near Kidderminster, and The Oratory, in South Oxfordshire.

O'Brien, of Fairfield Road, Bosham, Chichester, was convicted of 15 indecent assaults and five counts of gross indecency with a child at the city's crown court in December.

His sentencing was delayed after problems came to light about the validity of some of his convictions, leading to the quashing today of the gross indecency counts.

However, three senior judges at the Court of Appeal in London refused to give O'Brien the chance to investigate the possibility of appeals against the rest of his convictions.

"Nothing that has been said on behalf of Mr O'Brien persuades us that an adjournment should be granted," said Lady Justice Sharp.

The court heard O'Brien was accused of abusing several private school pupils in the 1980s.

He was convicted of 20 offences, but acquitted of another eight after his trial last year.

However, it was discovered in preparations for his sentencing that he should never have been charged with the five gross indecency counts.

Sex offence rules dating back to the 1960s meant he would have had to have been accused within 12 months of the crime happening, the Court of Appeal heard.

The prosecution accepted there had been a mistake in charging him.

However, his lawyers argued that he should also be granted an adjournment so his solicitors could consider appealing against the other convictions as well.

O'Brien, who was of previous good character, had complaints about the police investigation, legal decisions at his trial and the summing up given by the judge to the jury, the court heard.

Having refused the application to adjourn, Lady Justice Sharp, sitting with Mr Justice Spencer and Mrs Justice Simler, quashed the five gross indecency convictions.

The decision means O'Brien's sentencing on the remaining 15 indecent assault convictions can go ahead.

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