November 2019

Sleazy Dundee teacher who carried out indecent and sexual assaults on pupils and women is jailed

A sleazy art teacher who carried out a string of indecent and sexual assaults on children and women that he taught has been jailed for eight months.

James Skelton-Smith, 57, attacked one woman at his home after a night out as well as looking up the skirts of young females in his classrooms by dropping pencils next to them.

A sheriff today slammed Smith’s “abhorrent” conduct, adding that the creep had shown “no remorse” for his actions.

His trial at Dundee Sheriff Court heard how one ex-pupil, now 33, said she “played dead” after Smith touched her breasts when she went back to his house.

They met in the city centre after spending hours at a bar.

Another woman recalled having her buttocks touched by Smith in a store cupboard while a third said she was kissed and groped without consent in his classroom.

Smith, of Nelson Terrace, categorically denied the allegations against him, describing them as “absolutely ridiculous”.

Sheriff John Rafferty found the pervert guilty of five charges committed between 2008 and 2018.

He was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman at his home on an occasion between June 2008 and December 2008.

Smith was additionally convicted of indecently assaulting a former pupil at the school where he taught between January and March 2009.

In May 2010 at the same school, Smith touched and pushed a pupil’s buttocks.

Between January and July 2018, he repeatedly touched the thigh of a pupil.

Smith was convicted of a final charge of repeatedly dropping a pencil to look up female pupils’ skirts between August 2016 and July 2018.

Defence advocate Jonathan Crowe said Smith had now lost his job as a teacher as a result of the conviction.

Mr Crowe said that Smith was assessed as being at low risk of re-offending and urged Sheriff Rafferty to impose a community-based disposal.

When passing sentence, Sheriff Rafferty said: “These assaults were carried out when you were in a position of authority, in a position of trust.

“Most of your offending occurred in classrooms or elsewhere in the school environment where you were a teacher.

“I think it is important to pause and recognise the Crown witnesses have shown great courage. These witnesses did not flinch from their sworn duty to tell the truth.

“It’s the clear duty of this court to protect the young and the vulnerable and a deterrent of a custodial sentence is required.”

Smith, who showed no emotion as he was led to the cells, was also placed on the sex offender’s register for 10 years.