Risca teacher 'relieved' as indecency ordeal ends
10:10am Friday 22nd February 2013 in Campaign news
A TEACHER cleared in court of committing an indecent act in a cinema said he was relieved the ordeal was all over.
He thanked the hundreds of parents and pupils who have supported him after a district judge found him not guilty of committing an act of outraging public decency.
Nigel Blunt, 55, of Crescent Road, Risca, had been accused of touching himself inappropriately at Newport’s Cineworld on November 8 last year by a mother and her young daughter.
But, at Cwmbran Magistrates’ Court yesterday, District Judge Richard Williams said they had misinterpreted “something innocent”
in pointing the finger of blame. A trial started earlier this month and the District Judge took the unusual step of visiting the cinema yesterday morning.
He sat where the mother and daughter had been sitting, with Mr Blunt taking the same seat he was in on November 8.
The case then resumed at Cwmbran Magistrates’ Court, where the district judge said he believed the complainants were sincere in what they alleged. However, he added: “They believe what they are saying is true, but this isn’t the same as it being correct.”
After the trial began earlier this month, hundreds of people took to social networking site Facebook, praising Mr Blunt’s teaching skills and pouring scorn on the allegations.
Mr Blunt said yesterday: “The judge said it all, I am just relieved. I am extremely grateful to everyone who joined the support campaign and this brings closure to it.”
On November 8 last year, Mr Blunt entered the cinema to watch The Sapphires – a film about an all-girl Aboriginal singing group starring Chris O’Dowd.
The mother and daughter had been the only ones in the cinema apart from Mr Blunt and had been sat four rows behind him.
Defence solicitor Jonathan Holmes said the layout of the cinema meant the pair would have been unable to see anything but the back of Mr Blunt’s head and they had mistaken his movements while he scratched his chest.
District Judge Williams said: “They went to see a film they thought was a girlie film.
When a man walked in, they were instantly wary, the daughter frightened. That instant impression clouded what came next.”
He said from visiting the cinema and sitting where they were it would have been very difficult from them to have seen much of Mr Blunt’s body, especially in dim light.
He added: “Fromtheir sense of apprehension and anxiety that a man had walked in, this affected their interpretation of his movements. I am anything but sure they could see and something innocent was misinterpreted.”