Ex-teacher jailed 3 years for abusing boys

Benjamin Swann pictured at his first trial in April 2019. Photo: NZ Herald
Benjamin Swann pictured at his first trial in April 2019. Photo: NZ Herald

A former teacher has been jailed for three years for sexually abusing boys.

Earlier this year Benjamin Christopher Missi Swann (57) faced a retrial in the High Court at Auckland, accused of 10 charges of indecent acts on six boys.

The defence had argued that each of the boys lied, while the Crown said their accounts were honest.

By way of majority verdict, the jury found Swann guilty of five charges - relating to four complainants - and was unable to decide on the other charges.

Today at Swann's sentencing his lawyer Sam Wimsett said as always his client was supported in court by his family, in particular today, his sisters and his niece.

"They are a constant support to Mr Swann."

Wimsett also said when confronted with the charges, unable to teach, he engaged in new study and worked in construction.

There was a "remarkably positive reference" from an employer who had been fully aware of all of the court proceedings.

Justice Simon Moore said Swann's defence at trial was that the sexual offending described by the complainants never happened.

That position had not changed even when interviewed for a pre-sentence report.

"You steadfastly maintained your innocence, more than once you blamed the victims... you said they lied about you because they had a vendetta…"

Justice Moore said unsurprisingly, that report writer did not believe Swann had taken responsibility.

The judge said reading the effects on the victims made for "incredibly sad reading".

One says "he is ashamed, lost and lonely even when surrounded by people who love him", he said.

After handing down the sentence Justice Moore addressed Swann saying Wimsett run a vigorous and sustained defence despite which Swann was still found guilty.

"You are a man who has clear talents. You are hardworking."

The personal consequences had been great, he said.

"But the effects on the four boys you touched has also been vast," he said.

"Use your time in jail profitably," he said, encouraging Swann to undertake the programmes available.

"When you are released you will be so a better and safer man."

 

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