Wanaka couple charged after pulling child out of school

A Wanaka area couple appeared in the Queenstown District Court yesterday charged with failing or refusing to ensure a child was enrolled in a registered school from April 23 last year.

The couple are defending the charge, laid under the Education Act 1989.

The matter is a non-imprisonable offence.

The court was told there was evidence from the Ministry of Education Dunedin office the child was removed from the school roll in April last year and did not return to the school ''despite numerous communications''.

It was alleged the couple advised the school in March last year the child would not be returning and, after 20 consecutive days of being absent, the child was removed from the roll. The child was also not enrolled at any other school in the area for the remainder of the year.

The ministry had been advised the child was now enrolled at a high school, but there was no information about the child's attendance at this stage.

Defence counsel Bill Dawkins, of Invercargill, said his clients would defend the charge, but at yesterday's status hearing refused to divulge details of the defence.

''Regrettably, the prosecution hasn't seen that it cannot succeed in this prosecution. There is a way out for it right now.

''It is a status hearing ... but I'm advising the court that these charges are going to be defended on the facts and a number of legal issues.''

Mr Dawkins said given the child was now enrolled at a high school, the informant had a discretion to discontinue prosecution.

''They did have the opportunity to walk away from this,'' he said.

Judge Kevin Phillips remanded the matter to March 11 to allocate a date for the defended hearing.

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