Teacher faces pupil sex charges
A TEACHER has been charged with sexual misconduct against two former pupils.
Christopher Hird, 47, has appeared at Hull Magistrates' Court charged with sexual behaviour with a girl under the age of 16, as well as sexual assault against another former pupil.
Mr Hird, of South Cave, is a teacher at the 1,800-pupil South Holderness Technology College.
The science teacher appeared in court for the short hearing yesterday and spoke only to confirm his name, address and date of birth.
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Mr Hird, head of department at the school, is charged with two sexual assaults against the two former pupils and with being an offender aged over 18 engaging in sexual activity with a girl aged 13 to 15.
The offences are alleged to have happened during a three-year period at the school in Preston, near Hedon.
Mr Hird is accused of touching a girl's thigh and touching another child's face.
His solicitor John Seagrave told the court: "It involved three allegations for sexual assault and all are to be denied."
Prosecutor Brian Clark told the court it was a "breach of a position of trust" case.
Deputy district judge Helen Cousins told the prosecution not to read out the details of the case in open court, as she had already read them.
She said: "I have seen the papers and I have heard the disclosures and in my view it is not suitable to be heard in this court.
"This matter is best heard in the crown court. The next hearing will be in six weeks."
She told the defendant: "Mr Hird, I take the view this court is not sufficient for this matter and in due course this case will have to go before the crown court.
"Between now and then you can have unconditional bail and you will have to attend on the next hearing at court."
Mr Hird has been ordered to attend Hull Magistrates' Court on October 25, when a committal hearing date will be set to send the matter to the crown court.
Once at the crown court a plea and case management hearing will be held, where Mr Hird will formally enter pleas to the charges and a trial date will be set.
Mr Hird has been suspended from his post at the school since April following a complaint by a female pupil.
The secondary school's head teacher Martin Cooper said he was unable to comment, but a statement issued on behalf of the school by the council confirmed a teacher has been suspended. It said: "There are currently ongoing investigations so it would not be appropriate to make any further comment."
The suspension comes six months after two other teachers from the school were suspended after a crude Facebook exchange about pupils.
They were reinstated in November after "appropriate management action" had been taken.
The latest suspension is not connected to the Facebook controversy.
It is the second suspension at an East Riding secondary school this year.
A teacher at Market Weighton School was suspended following rumours of a relationship with a female sixth-form student emerged.
The teacher, who has not been named, has now been sacked from the 540-pupil school, which recently came out of special measures.
Previously, Alison Michalska, director of children, family and adult services at East Riding Council, said: "The police took no action in this case and the teacher is no longer employed by the school.
"Parents can be reassured all East Riding schools have robust procedures in place for safeguarding children in line with national and local requirements."