Benjamin Swann retrial: Boys give statement accusing former teacher of abuse

5:33 pm on 4 August 2020

The trial of a former school teacher accused of abusing teenage boys has now heard from three of the boys at the centre of the case.

Former Auckland high school teacher Benjy Swann has appeared in the Auckland High Court and is accused of doing indecent acts on boys.

Benjamin Swann is on trial at the Auckland High Court. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

Benjamin Swann, who taught in Auckland schools for 30 years, is accused of abusing six young teenagers; allegations he categorically denied in a trial last year at which the jury was unable to reach a verdict.

The 56-year-old is on trial in the High Court at Auckland after pleading not guilty to 10 charges of doing an indecent act on a young person.

Much of the detail in the trial cannot be reported to protect the identities of the complainants, who have automatic name suppression.

Yesterday, a boy told the court Swann touched his penis while he was asleep and today the boy's girlfriend said he confided in her afterwards.

"He said he woke up to see Swann touching his private parts and he just pretended to sleep because he didn't know what to do. He was telling me ... he was crying ... I didn't know what to do."

She said the boy struggled to tell her his story at first and went on to say he did not think it would ever happen to him.

"He said that it's disgusting thinking of an older man just standing over you, touching you."

The boy later told his mother, which sparked a police investigation that identified other complainants.

The jury watched a DVD interview with the second complainant this afternoon, in which he says he was also touched by Swann.

The teenager struggles to communicate at times throughout the interview, needing regular prompting from the interviewer for more detail about his story.

"All I felt was his hand sweep under my shorts. He was just touching it. He was just touching it and ... do I have to actually say it?"

The interviewer confirms she needs to know exactly what happened, after which the boy says Swann had masturbated him.

Swann denies the accusations and has already signalled his intent to give evidence in his own defence.

His defence lawyer Sam Wimsett has said none of the boys had been touched but Crown prosecutor Chris Howard said this could not be possible given the similarities of the boys' stories.

The trial before Justice Moore and a jury of six women and six men is set down for three weeks.