Monday, 23 July 2018

Ex-head cleared of fraud and theft

A FORMER headteacher has been cleared of fraud and theft.

A FORMER headteacher has been cleared of fraud and theft.

Tim Royle, who was the head at Highdown School and Sixth Form College in Emmer Green for 14 years, was acquitted of three charges of fraud and two of theft by a jury at Reading Crown Court.

The jury of six men and six women took three hours and 20 minutes to return a unanimous verdict.

After leaving the court, Mr Royle said: “I just want to thank all the former parents, students, staff, teachers and governors who have supported me over the last two years that this has all been going on.

“So many people have come forward to support me.”

Mr Royle, 64, of Woolton Hill, Hampshire, had denied claiming almost £7,000 in expenses for attending conferences and training courses between 2007 and 2010 after he was made a national leader of education by the National College for Teaching and Leadership. The cost was said to have already been paid for by the school.

He also denied stealing an iMac desktop computer and a Sony video camera when he retired in December 2012.

Nicholas Syfret QC, defending, said Mr Royle was only on trial because of change in public policy after the MPs’ expenses scandal in 2009.

He described the end -of-year report forms Mr Royle had to fill in as a “box-ticking exercise”, adding: “Do you think when they chose him for the scheme they thought what actually made the difference was that he was good at filling in forms?”

He said Mr Royle was a “flamboyant, dynamic and charismatic” man and that Highdown achieved an “outstanding” rating from Ofsted during his tenure.

Mr Royle told the jury he had a “cavalier” attitude to filling in forms.

“I was not interested in the end-of-year report,” he said. “This might disappoint people but that does not mean I am a criminal.”

Mr Royle said he believed he had the right to keep the computer as it was a “miscellaneous financial decision” that could be designated to the headteacher.

The computer also had sensitive information from his time as headteacher.

He said the Sony video camera had ended up at his home due to nothing more than “an honest mistake”.

Mr Royle said: “I just mixed it up my own JVC camera, which had a similar case.”

During her summing up, the Judge Angela Morris said Mr Royle had taken the school “from strength to strength”.

She said: “He is a talented man within his field and had a breadth of knowledge on issues which took him to the broader aspects of educational policy.”

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