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Sex abuse teacher loses appeal

John Garvey

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John Garvey

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Mark Standish
A FORMER West Berkshire teacher who was jailed last year for sexually abusing a pupil has lost his second appeal against conviction. Mark Joseph Standish, also known as Alex Standish, was sentenced to four years in prison last March, after a jury at Reading Crown Court found him guilty of four counts of indecently assaulting a pupil while he was a teacher at Crookham Court School in Thatcham between 1988 and 1989. His first appeal was thrown out by the Court of Appeal but Standish decided to re-appeal that decision. The former United Nations worker committed his crimes while working as a tutor at Crookham Court School, which was closed when its owner and two teachers were jailed for 10 years each for sex offences against pupils. This week the 49-year-old challenged his convictions at London's Criminal Appeal Court, arguing his trial was unfair because of the long delay before the allegations were made by the victim. But his appeal bid was rejected by three of the country's top judges, who said his trial was just and upheld his convictions. The court heard the school achieved national notoriety when its owner Philip Cadman and two other teachers - William Printer and Anthony Edmonds - were jailed for sex offences against pupils in 1991. Standish, who worked there in the 1980s, gave evidence for the prosecution against his former colleagues and his own crimes went undetected until they were reported by his victim in 2009. The court heard he groomed and molested the 14-year old boy and made him strip naked and do physical exercise in front of him. The victim was also made to sign a statement - exonerating the former teacher - to help him win a libel case he brought in 1999 against a national newspaper which had named him as one of the abusers. When police caught up with Standish, he was working as head of security sector programming for the UN in Kosovo. His lawyers urged the Appeal Court to overturn his convictions, saying they were unsafe because of the delay of more than 20 years since the offences were committed. They argued records kept by the school, which Standish claimed could have supported his case, had been lost by the time of the trial. But, dismissing his appeal bid, Lord Justice Jackson said the loss of the records did not render a fair trial impossible. The judge, sitting with Mr Justice Burton and Mr Justice Simon, added: "In our view, the proposed appeal does not have any prospect of success." Standish was living in Station Street, Waterhouses, Durham, at the time of his conviction.                      

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