Teacher's spilt juice assault case dropped

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A teacher charged with assault after accidentally spilling fruit juice over a pupil said last night that she is looking forward to returning to "normal work" after the case against her was dropped.

Ann Brooks, 47, from Adamsdown Primary School in Cardiff, south Wales, had been charged with common assault and actual bodily harm after dropping tangerine syrup on to the arm of a 10-year-old boy during a school outing to a farm in January.

Following an investigation, reported to have cost £40,000 the Crown Prosecution Service told Haverfordwest Magistrates Court on Monday that there was insufficient evidence for a conviction.

Mrs Brooks said last night: "I am looking forward to getting back to normal work. It's been a very difficult time."

The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) said the case should never have been brought to court in the first place. Mrs Brooks has worked at Adamsdown for 14 years and has an unblemished 28-year career in teaching.

Regional secretary Steve Reardon said: "The summer is usually a time for recharging the batteries but Mrs Brooks did not have much of a break with this hanging over her.

"She always had the support of her headteacher and was never suspended at any time."

The child had told police that Mrs Brooks had deliberately dropped the liquid on to him in a fit of anger and a psychiatrist strengthened his claims by saying the "victim" was a vulnerable pupil who could have suffered long-term effects from the incident.

Mr Reardon said: "Parents are entitled to make a complaint and have it investigated in a fair and objective way.

"But this investigation was not carried out in a fair and objective way. If it had of been, it would never have come to court." Mr Reardon added: "Many of the key witnesses to the alleged incident were never even interviewed."