Prosecution of deputy head teacher Royden Cope defended

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has defended its decision to prosecute a deputy head teacher, who was then cleared of assaulting a pupil.

Royden Cope, 63, was accused of restraining the boy by his wrists and then slapping him across the face.

At a hearing on Tuesday, Blackburn magistrates cleared Mr Cope of assault.

Mr Cope, whose primary school in East Lancashire cannot be identified for legal reasons, has been suspended since the incident in March.

The incident was witnessed by another teacher who gave evidence at the trial.

Mr Cope, from Accrington, told magistrates the pupil was often unruly and that the boy had slammed his head into his hand during a hysterical outburst.

'Respect magistrates' verdict'

He added the youngster, who cannot be named, was probably the worst behaved pupil he had taught in more than 40 years.

A CPS spokeswoman said: "The evidence in the case against Royden Cope was reviewed by the Crown Prosecution Service in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

"We made a decision that there was sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and that it was in the public interest to proceed to trial."

She added: "This was a serious allegation of assault of a pupil by a senior teacher in a position of responsibility and trust.

"At the end of the prosecution case the defence has the right to argue there is no case to answer but chose not to exercise that right in this trial.

"After hearing all the evidence from both prosecution and defence, including a witness to what happened, the magistrates decided to acquit Mr Cope. We respect the magistrates' verdict."

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