Don't always believe the children

April 26, 2004

When more than half the staff at a special school were accused, in effect, of beating up their pupils, some were placed under virtual house arrest. Yet only one minor charge stood up. Nick Cohen reportsA few weeks ago, Martyn Clarke, a care worker at Bridge-view special school on the outskirts of Hull, was acquitted by Frederick Rutherford, a district judge, of a charge of common assault. The prosecution alleged that Clarke, who is 39 and has spent much of his professional career at the school, had grabbed the back of a boy’s shirt after he had kicked over a chair. Clarke is then meant to have marched the boy up a few stairs, held him by his lapels so their faces were inches apart and cried: “You don’t even know who I am, you don’t even know my name. What right do you have to hurt me?”The defence disputed the prosecution account of the minor fracas and said that Clarke had dealt with a difficult child with perfect propriety. The judge agreed. He ruled that Clarke had followed the rules, and threw the case out.
The New Statesman


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