Special school teacher accused of assaulting disabled child

Published: 24 June 2016 Image credit: Adelaide Advertiser

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The special school teacher accused of assaulting a non-verbal disabled girl in front of other staff and students says she will fight allegations.

Jemina Raymond insists she was acting to defend the girl, the Adelaide Magistrates Court has heard.

Ms Raymond is also the daughter of the Errington Special Education Centre’s principal Jen Mathwin-Raymond.

The court heard up to 35 members of the Plympton Park school’s faculty and supporters will give evidence during a two-day trial.

While no details are given of the alleged attack, Police claim an offence occurred at the Centre on December 8 last year, in which Ms Raymond “recklessly caused harm” to a girl who was vulnerable due to physical and mental disability.

Ms Raymond now faces a maximum of three years jail because the student is “non-verbal” so the offence is considered to be aggravated.

While police have reportedly nominated between 30 and 35 potential witnesses to give evidence, the defence case required only eyewitnesses to the incident.

“The issue for us is self-defence, more particularly my client going to the defence of another person - the child,” Michael Jandy, for Ms Raymond, said.

“It occurred in a playground and there were three staff, excluding my client, who witnessed what occurred.

“But one way or another, there’s going to be 30 to 35 people that will be affected by this trial.”

Raymond’s qualifications to work with special needs children and her training “in relation to manual handling” will be addressed by other witnesses, police prosecutors said.

In a bid to consider how many witnesses are required, the state’s chief magistrate, Judge Mary-Louise Hribal, has ordered parties to attend a status conference in August.

However, she agreed the nature of the case warranted receiving an expedited trial date in September.

Errington schooling welcomes students from reception to year 12.