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JUST IN | Court issues arrest warrant for wheelchair-bound teacher facing sexual assault charges

An arrest warrant was issued for an ex-teacher after he failed to appear in the Wynberg Magistrate's Court.

An arrest warrant was issued for an ex-teacher after he failed to appear in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court.

PHOTO: Ashraf Hendricks, GroundUp

  • Mr P, a retired teacher who previously taught at Western Province Preparatory School in Claremont, failed to appear in the dock on Wednesday on sexual assault charges dating back almost 40 years.
  • He is accused of sexually abusing a pupil between 1984 and 1987.
  • Mr P faces a multitude of charges in the UK, but managed to avoid extradition.

A warrant of arrest has been issued for a retired teacher who is accused of sexually assaulting a pupil at Western Province Preparatory School almost 40 years ago, after he failed to appear in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

Magistrate Goolam Bawa ordered that he not be named, in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Act. A medical certificate for Mr P was presented by his lawyer, Ben Mathewson.

His ill client required a wheelchair, he said, which could become a “logistical nightmare”. The warrant would stand over to his next appearance on 9 March, Bawa said.

The case was postponed for further statements and consultations to take place.

Mr P, 76, had two teaching stints at the independent Anglican Church school in Claremont, the first for a short period in the early 1970s. But during his longer tenure in the 1980s, when he taught English, History and Geography to the school’s Standard 4 class, the former pupil alleged that Mr P sexually abused him.

Mr P also coached various sports teams until his departure in 1987. By that point, he was accused of having abused the complainant since 1984 by molesting the boy or forcing him to touch Mr P’s genitals.

The man laid a charge against Mr P in December, whereafter he was arrested.

This is, however, not the first time that the retired teacher has been accused of abuse. He faces several similar charges in the United Kingdom, where he had been a teacher before returning to South Africa.

Mr P managed to avoid extradition after Cape Town Magistrate Ingrid Arntsen found that the State had failed to prove that the UK was party to a treaty with South Africa, in accordance with the Extradition Act.

The National Prosecuting Authority will have this decision reviewed so that he can be compelled to return to the country where he is accused of 42 charges of sexual assault against former pupils.

Mr P previously declined to comment to News24, citing legal advice. He did, however, commit to speaking “when the time is right”.

He lives in a gated retirement village in Rondebosch. The facility also houses a play school, which its management says does not allow contact between children and tenants.

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