A former maths teacher at a prestigious Melbourne school had convictions for molesting boys decades ago quashed on appeal.
Trevor Alan Spurritt was found guilty of nine counts of indecent assault dating back to the 1970s against four boys after a trial in the County Court of Victoria.
The 77-year-old was a maths teacher at Camberwell Grammar at the time he was accused of assaulting boys, aged 12 to 14, in classrooms and at camps. He denied all the allegations.
He was sentenced to five years and eight months behind bars in February last year, but that was overturned in the Court of Appeal on Friday.
The three judges quashed Mr Spurritt’s convictions, set the sentence aside and ordered the teacher be acquitted on each charge.
They found the jury’s verdicts were “unsafe and unsatisfactory” in relation to some charges and there was a “substantial miscarriage of justice” in relation to others, judges David Beach, Stephen Kaye and Richard Niall found.
One of the allegations stemmed from a man who claimed Mr Spurritt abused him in class while he sat next to a friend, who was called as a witness. The friend told the jury he never saw anything happen.
This was a “direction contradiction”, and the Court of Appeal justices found it was “not open to the jury to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt”.
Another man claimed he was assaulted in full view of the class, but they found this was “improbable”.
There were also issues with the claim of another former student who said he was assaulted at a camp between 1969 to 1971.
But no camps ran in the early period, and Mr Spurritt did not attend the one in 1971.
The three judges considered ordering a retrial for three charges but found it would not be just or appropriate given the former teacher had spent almost 12 months in prison since he was sentenced last year.
The teacher is expected to be released on Friday.