An Auckland teacher accused of inappropriately touching female students as young as eight while in class has been cleared of all charges after a jury trial.
The teacher, aged in his 60s, denied 23 charges of doing an indecent act on girls under the age of 12 over a two-year period. His name and the name of his school are suppressed.
During the trial, the jury heard from girls who said the teacher played "tickle torture", and one said he put his hands down her pants.
The teacher's defence lawyer said the teacher played physical games with the children, which was unwise. However, he was not a criminal, the lawyer said.
The school's board of trustees said it was not clear whether the teacher would still be allowed to teach at the school.
It said it would carefully consider the next steps, and would liaise with the Teacher's Council.
A jury in the High Court at Auckland returned its verdict just before 5pm.