Published: 00:00, 16 May 2002
A TEACHER has expressed his relief after an allegation against him of indecently assaulting a pupil 18 years ago was dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service. Timothy Baldwin, 46, had suffered the indignity of a court appearance and being suspended from Vernon Holme School at Harbledown before the CPS decided to discontinue the case.
Now the school has re-instated him and he has the full backing of headmaster Edward Halse and the governing body. Speaking from his home at Old Wives Lees, Mr Baldwin, who is married with children, said he was just relieved his ordeal was now over and he could get back to teaching.
He said: "I was always clear in my own mind of my innocence and that justice would be done. But it has been a ghastly experience and I am grateful for the support of my family and friends and, of course, the school. Now I am just looking forward to getting back to teaching."
Mr Baldwin had been suspended for eight months since the allegation was first made. Mr Halse said: "We are delighted to have him back with us. Mr Baldwin has had an unblemished career at Vernon Holme and throughout that time he has enjoyed an incontestably high reputation.
"It has been a very difficult time for him, but with the support of his family, friends, colleagues, parents and pupils he has been able to come through this traumatic experience."
He said: "Both Vernon Home and the senior school Kent College, have robust policies on child protection and there are clear procedures and guidance for teachers in dealing with pupils, all of which are regularly reviewed. Even so, the threat of false allegations against teachers is a constant fear for the entire profession.
"Clearly pupils need protection, but one cannot help but feel that teachers need it too. They should be entitled to natural justice, especially when faced with such allegations. Mr Baldwin has certainly been an innocent victim."