Banned Hartlepool teacher failed in bid to have sexual misconduct case heard in private
Disgraced school teacher David Fenwick lodged a failed bid to have the entire sex case against him heard in private.
As we revealed last week, Fenwick, 44, from Hartlepool, was banned for life from the classroom after a misconduct panel heard how he began a six-month affair with a 16-year-old pupil after kissing her at their school's 2013 prom night.
While Fenwick declined the opportunity to travel to Coventry to give evidence on his own behalf, he still instructed his union representative to attempt to have the panel hearing held behind closed doors.
His argument, according to the misconduct panel’s final report, was that “he had school-age children and he was concerned about the impact on them of unnecessary publicity which may cause them distress”.
Eventually, however, the panel ruled that the allegations made against him were so serious that it was in the public interest for them to be heard openly.
Its report notes: “The panel took into account the general rule that hearings should be held in public and that this was generally desirable to maintain public confidence in the administration of these proceedings and also to maintain confidence in the teaching profession.”
The only evidence to be heard in private during the three-day hearing was by Pupil A, as she is referred to throughout the report, who bravely travelled to Coventry for the misconduct case.
The panel was told she “was every nervous” and there was a “high risk” that she would refuse to give evidence at all if she was required to speak in public.
Its report states: “In light of Pupil A’s vulnerability and that she was the alleged victim of Mr Fenwick’s alleged sexual behaviour, the panel considered it was reasonably necessary for Pupil A’s evidence to be heard in private and for the rest of the hearing to be heard in public.”
Fenwick denied four of the 14 allegations made against him, including that he allowed the pupil to perform a sex act on him and that he engaged in further sexual activity with her.
But both were proven against him along with 10 of the 12 remaining counts.