Rothbury indecent assaults trial: Day 7, morning

The barrister defending a former teacher from Rothbury, accused of indecently assaulting schoolgirls, suggested that contamination of witnesses had taken place during the police investigation.

Joseph Kinnear, 59, of East Newtown Cottages, is standing trial at Newcastle Crown Court after pleading not guilty to 14 counts of indecent assault dating back to between 1975 and 1982.

At the time, Kinnear was a teacher at Dr Thomlinson’s Middle School in Rothbury and Beaumont Middle School in Hexham.

This morning, under cross-examination from Mark Barlow, defending, the officer in charge of the investigation, DC Kelly, admitted that conducting investigations of historic cases does include challenges.

She also conceded that it potentially can lead to a risk of contamination, in which the statements of co-witnesses can ‘contaminate’ memories, but said she ‘wasn’t worried in this case’.

Mr Barlow took the officer through various aspects of the interviews, including asking if she had returned to ask an alleged victim further questions following issues raised by Kinnear himself during interview.

DC Kelly said that she did go back to the alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, to try to clarify certain points to give her a chance to remember, especially after 30 years.

“Any ambiguity would have to be cleared up before it came to trial,” she said.

“I don’t believe for one second that I contaminated this investigation. I believe it’s been done fairly and openly.”

DC Kelly also agreed that Kinnear co-operated and answered questions fully during interview.

The trial continues.