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No Prosecution for Hon David Benson Pope

No Prosecution for Hon David Benson Pope

National News Release 4:01pm 23 November 2005


Police will not be prosecuting the Hon David Benson Pope for allegations of misconduct as a teacher in 1982.

The District Commander of the Southern Police District, Superintendent George Fraser, said that after a thorough investigation and consideration of the Solicitor General's Guidelines on criminal prosecutions he had decided that prosecution would not take place.

"The case clearly fails to meet the public interest requirements outlined in the Solicitor General's guidelines.

"I have made my decision after taking into consideration legal advice provided by the Police Legal Section. That advice was peer reviewed by a Crown Solicitor.

"The decision-making in this case rests with me and I have reached my decision after weighing up all the information and advice available to me."

Superintendent Fraser said that while the criminal justice system would not be invoked there was a prima facie case concerning an event where a student's hands were taped to the desk while he had a tennis ball in his mouth and another event involving another student being struck on the face. While there was some conflicting evidence Police concluded there was a prima facie case.

"These alleged events happened more than 22 years ago and the victims were not motivated to lay complaints with Police for many years. If the person at the centre of the inquiry did not have a high current public profile it is unlikely that the matter would have surfaced in the way it has in 2005.

"Given all the circumstances of the inquiry, Mr Benson-Pope is being treated no differently from any other person who might have similar matters raised about them. The case simply does not warrant use of the criminal law," said Superintendent Fraser.

ENDS

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