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Teacher cleared after bringing meat cleaver into class

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Science teacher Jonathan Abbott, 35, says he has endured ’11 months of hell’ after being charged with bringing a bladed article into a school. The blade in question was a meat cleaver he used during classes to teach his students about topics such as splitting the atom.

Locked in a drawerEAST ANGLIA NEWS SERVICE, tel 07767 413379nnJonathan Abbott (pictured), a teacher at Mildenhall College Academy, Suffolk, who was charged with having a bladed article in school after he used a meat cleaver as a teaching aid in class. The charge was dropped at Ipswich Crown Court on Monday. Picture taken from his Facebook account and available on internet. No permission to use.

On October 23 2014, a senior staff member at Mildenhall College Academy, Suffolk, reported the cleaver when a supply teacher found it locked in a drawer whilst Dr Abbott was on holiday. He was then suspended and ordered to attend hearings until the Crown Prosecution Service finally revealed there was no evidence this week. If he had been convicted, Dr Abbott could have spent up to four years in prison and a £5,000 fine.

Relieved and happy at the outcome

Today he announced: “I am obviously relieved and happy. It has been 11 months of hell. I am somebody who loves my job and I have not been able to work, so it has been very difficult for me.

‘I was charged with having a bladed article within a school – however, it is a legitimate defence if you have it for an educational purpose or you have authority. From day one I said it was for an educational purpose. I have been in crown court four times and magistrates court once. Throughout that time, nobody has looked at the case until now and said ‘Actually, you are right’.

‘The CPS admitted yesterday that they had reviewed the case and it showed there was significant evidence it was being used for an educational purpose throughout.”

Teaching aid

Dr Abbott has previously conducted scientific research and lectured at numerous universities. He claims that he was taught to use a blade as a teaching aid whilst at teacher training college.

“I was doing a technique that was taught to me so there are hundreds and thousands of teachers doing exactly the same thing.” he explained.

Case dismissed

Dr Abbott pleaded not guilty back on July 3 and a nine-day trial was scheduled at Ipswich Crown Court for the end of November. However, in the hearing on Monday, prosecutor Edward Renvoize said “it was not in the public interest to continue with the prosecution”. The case was dismissed by recorder Ian Evans.

Defence barrister Jonathan Goodman stated: “there is a lot that could be said. It’s clearly been incredibly stressful over a long period of time.”

Unsure if he can return to school

A spokeswoman for the Academy Transformation Trust said she could not confirm whether Dr Abbott would be allowed to return to his school. She said: “we can confirm that legal proceedings have been concluded in this case. However, given that an internal process may be carried out within the academy we are unable to make any further comment.”

Fantastic teacher

One mother of a student said: “Dr Abbott is a fantastic teacher who tries to make lessons interesting. It is disgusting that he was charged with a criminal offence and dragged into court. I am delighted that common sense has prevailed and the charge has been dropped.”

Finally, Chris McGovern, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, said: “It seems a bit heavy handed to have charged this teacher with a criminal offence and taken him to court. They could have given him some sort of warning inside the school.”

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About Siobhan Harmer

About Siobhan Harmer

Siobhan Harmer is an English Freelance writer who drinks far too much coffee!!

Website: Siobhan Harmer

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