Ex-teacher ‘sex pest’ fights extradition to UK

Sunday Times / by Philani Nombembe

A retired teacher in his 80s accused of sexual abuse decades ago at elite private schools abroad is fighting his extradition from SA.

The 83-year-old, who is not being named for legal reasons, lives in an upmarket Cape Town suburb.

An ongoing child abuse inquiry in Scotland has heard that he allegedly “physically or sexually” abused several boys at Edinburgh Academy and at Fettes College, where former British prime minister Tony Blair went to school.

The Scottish government launched the inquiry in 2015.

The BBC presenter and broadcaster Nicky Campbell last month alleged that he was physically abused at Edinburgh Academy and had witnessed the sexual abuse of a friend by the retired teacher, who goes by the pseudonym Edgar.

This prompted more former pupils to come forward.

“Being in a changing room with 10 years old – after rugby – seeing a teacher abuse my friend. I cannot describe it here and I can never unsee it,” Campbell told the BBC.

“This man was known to us…but we never told anyone. My school friends and I talk about it now with each other – with contempt, disbelief and incomprehension that that sort of thing happened in plain sight and nothing was done.

“And why didn’t we as little boys tell anyone in power what was happening? I don’t know,” he said.

The schools have apologised and Campbell is determined to see Edgar extradited to stand trial.

Scotland police  have urged other victims to come forward.

Justice minister Ronald Lamola signed an order for Edgar’s extradition to the UK in February 2020, his spokesperson Chrispin Phiri told the Sunday Times. But he former teacher is appealing the decision in the high court in Cape Town and the case will be heard in October.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said the man first appeared before the Simon’s Town magistrate’s court in May 2019.

“However, [he] has decided to appeal the matter, and an appeal review is set down for hearing in October 25 2022 at the high court.”

The chair of the Scottish inquiry has ordered that the former teacher and his alleged victims not be named.

“The chair has had regard to the sensitive and/or personal nature of many aspects of such evidence and documents, to the interests of protected people who may be identified by such evidence and/or documents and to the risk of  harm and/or damage being occasioned to them,” the commission’s general restriction order read.

The former teacher’s lawyer, Ben Mathewson, said: “I am disinclined to make any comments in light of the [inquiry] order.”

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