Teacher avoids conviction over indecent assault

SHE waited nearly 30 years to have a conviction recorded against her abuser, but it took less than 30 minutes for a judge to quash her appeal yesterday.

Gerard Stephen Benfield retained his Section 10 good behaviour bond, which means no conviction will be recorded against his name.

In November 2016, Benfield - the victim's former teacher - pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault on a female student under his authority while he was on the staff at Trinity Catholic College, Lismore, in 1989.

When Judge Jeffreys summed up his decision in Lismore District Court to dismiss the victim's appeal against Benfield's sentence, she was in court and visibly distressed with the result.

Earlier the judge remarked on the two occasions the assaults occurred.

However, he cited a number of positive character references and a psychologist report describing Benfield as "deeply and genuinely remorseful".

In his opinion, Benfield had shown "complete contrition".


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