Former Derry classroom assistant convicted of sexual assaulting pupil

A 41-year-old former classroom assistant at Derry school has been sentenced to probation for sexual assault on a female pupil.

John Arthur of Hillcrest was convicted of the offence which occurred on May 13 last year.

Derry Magistrates Court heard that the incident happened the morning after a social get together where pupils and teachers mixed.

A defence barrister said that some of the 'social barriers' had broken down and the offence occurred the next day.

He said that his client could not understand why he behaved as he did.

The barrister said that the offence was at the 'low end of the spectrum' but it did involve a breach of trust with a young person.

District Judge Barney McEholm said that it was clear that Arthur was showing a high degree of honesty now and it was a pity that he had not shown this earlier.

He said there was evidence of remorse and Arthur knew his behaviour had been 'wholly inappropriate'.

The judge aid that the actions would have consequences for his victim and for his own family and he could be unable to follow his career.

However, Judge McElhom said that it would not serve any purpose to send Arthur to prison.

He was sentenced to 24 months probation and ordered to sign the sex offenders register for five years.