November 2005

Paedophile teacher starts appeal

A teacher jailed for sexually abusing boys at schools in Wales and Devon has begun an appeal against his conviction.

Brian Ely, 71, was sentenced to 15 years at Exeter Crown Court in 2001 for 26 sex offences against boys dating back 40 years.

His lawyers told the court he was a victim of an unfair system which allowed police to “trawl” for evidence among potential complainants.

The case at the Court of Appeal in London continues.

The compensation available to victims of abuse could provide a motive for witnesses coming forward and making false allegations, said Sir Ivan Lawrence QC, for Ely.

Ely, a qualified accountant, worked at Bryn-y-Don approved school (pic above) near Cardiff between 1962 and 1967 before moving to Forde Park at Newton Abbot, Devon.

School records

At the start of a hearing in London, set for five days, Sir Ivan told Lord Justice Pill, Mr Justice Newman and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones that Ely’s appeal was about the twentieth “historical” abuse case to come before the Court of Appeal in the past decade.

Such was the court’s concern to ensure no miscarriage of justice had occurred that most of the convictions in those cases were quashed, he said.

Sir Ivan said that, in prosecutions relating to recent incidents of abuse, it was normal to expect corroborative evidence of a complaint being made, plus medical and scientific evidence and disclosure of documents such as school records stating which masters and which boys were present on a specific date.

But in cases dating back many years, such evidence was seldom available.

He said: “The police are allowed to trawl for evidence, to write to former delinquents who attended these institutions asking if they had been abused and by whom.”