A former Auckland teacher was in "absolute shock" to find out he was being investigated for alleged sexual assaults against six young boys, his defence lawyer says.
Benjamin Christopher Missi Swann, who is also known as Benjy Swann, denies 10 charges of indecent acts on a young person at his trial in the High Court at Auckland.
Swann’s jury trial is the first to be held in Auckland after the Covid-19 pandemic forced jury trials to come to a halt.
On Friday, Crown prosecutor David Stevens closed the case to the jury, telling them the alleged sexual assaults were no coincidence and the six young boys weren't lying.
However, defence lawyer Sam Wimsett said his client was innocent and the boy's all lied.
On Friday afternoon, Wimsett closed his case to the jury claiming all six complainants had lied in various ways.
He said the boy's evidence was a “devious fabrication” fitted in with real life events.
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Wimsett read out a text message sent by Swann to another colleague in the days after an investigation into the alleged assaults commenced.
" ... I'm still in absolute complete shock. Still trying to get my head around the accusation," the message read.
The defence lawyer said Swann, 56, continued to maintain his innocence.
“The only proper and fair outcome in this case is multiple verdicts of not guilty.”
Earlier on Friday, Stevens claimed the inappropriate touching did happen and there was no evidence or suggestion the victims colluded together against the defendant.
“It is not the defendant’s extremely bad luck that all six boys made similar allegations about being [indecent assaulted],” Stevens said.
Stevens said there was a clear pattern of offending and Swann inappropriately touched the six boys in similar circumstances.
”When he didn’t get the reaction he wanted, he stopped and apologised and tried to pretend nothing happened,” Stevens said.
”The boys are not lying to you.”
The investigation into Swann commenced after a young boy claimed he was indecently assaulted by the teacher, and told his mother.
During the trial, the court heard he cried when he told his mother, who then reported it to the police.
Five other boys were identified as other alleged victims.
The Crown claimed Swann would indecently touch the boys, sometimes behind locked doors, and sometimes in the presence of others.
Stevens told the jury it was a simple case and, if they could be sure beyond reasonable doubt Swann touched the boys inappropriately, they could find him guilty.
Swann was last a teacher at Ōtāhuhu College, south Auckland, and has held a teaching certificate for more than 30 years.
But according to the Teaching Council's register, he has voluntarily agreed not to continue teaching.
Strict suppression orders prevent the media from publishing any further details of Swann's employment.
Swann originally had name suppression when he first appeared at Manukau District Court in September 2017. However, that was lifted after Stuff, RNZ and the New Zealand Herald successfully challenged the order.
Justice Simon Moore will sum up the case to the jury on Monday.