Allegations of Sexual Abuse
Closing arguments in the indecent assault trial of Kapiti teacher Michael Warren Neville are to begin this morning and the jury could retire to consider its verdict as early as this afternoon.
The last defence witness finished giving evidence at 3.30pm yesterday and the trial was adjourned till 9.30am today.
Neville, 48, has pleaded not guilty to four charges of indecent assault on girls aged under 12.
The charges involved four of his former pupils and were said to have happened between January 1999 and August 2003.
Yesterday, the defence called a series of teachers, teacher aides and parent helpers who had worked in Neville's classes and observed his teaching practices and relationships with the children.
Each praised him as an exceptional teacher with a great ability to communicate with children.
They said children would run up to him in the playground, fight to get near him, hold his hand, talk to him and hug him.
One mother said that when her child had to wear an eye patch for several weeks, Neville wore one for two days as well.
The names of the witnesses, the complainants and the school were suppressed.
During the trial, which began on November 22, the prosecution called 13 witnesses and the defence 16.