Principal fined for lurking outside teacher's house

By Imran Ali

Former Dargaville High School Principal David Kenneth Bargh.
Former Dargaville High School Principal David Kenneth Bargh.

Dargaville High School principal David Kenneth Bargh has been convicted and fined for lurking on the property of a female teacher at night.

Bargh, 59, appeared for sentencing in the Whangarei District Court today after he earlier pleaded guilty to three charges of loitering and one of being unlawfully in an enclosed yard. Judge Duncan Harvey fined him $1000 and ordered him to come upon for sentencing within 12 months.

Obsessive compulsive disorder triggered his offending and the court heard from Bargh's GP, a psychologist and a psychiatrist that there was no sexual motive in his behaviour.

The female teacher, Jessica McPherson read her victim impact statement at the sentencing today, describing how she had been victimised and felt like she had been stalked in her own home.

"I have been victimised by the actions of a person, I am disgusted to think, I once respected and trusted as a professional leader and the principal of Dargaville HIgh School," Ms McPherson said.

"The thought of saying the name of this person repulses me and continues to make me feel violated...The intention of reading my victim impact statement today is so that the principal hears first hand the significant trauma he has, and continues to put me through. It is also to help provide an insight of the constant fear I have lived in since he began carrying out his cowardly actions."

She said her life had now changed forever. She changed her normal routines and took extreme measures to enhance her physical safety and the safety of her property.

She did not turn some house lights on at night in case she was seen from outside and always ensured there were no gaps in her curtains and closed all internal doors behind her.

She parked her car outside the garage so any prowler may be deterred and had 111 pressed into her mobile phone keypad if she returned home after dark, ready to call police straight away if needed.

"I took mental notes of the appearance of and time I passed anybody on (her) road late at night. This was in case something happened that night and I had to report it to police," she said.

"By doing so I virtually assumed innocent people were guilty just because they were on my road at night time. I have not slept adequately since October. I sleep with a (tool) beside my bed for fear of an intruder."

"I have been a prisoner in my own home."

She told the court she was only now fully able to comprehend the toll it has taken on her emotional wellbeing.

She said she was taking medication for insomnia and anxiety and had had to "psych herself up" just to get out of the car at the supermarket carpark.

"Once an arrest is made there is an expectation that everything is OK but the trauma has only just begun at that point," Ms McPherson said."

Bargh's lawyer Wayne McKean told the court Bargh suffered depression and untreated obsessive compulsive behaviour that had spiralled out of control to the point where his "paternal and caring" checking on Ms McPherson had become compulsive and obsessive, and had made him unhappy.

He asked for a discharge without conviction, arguing Bargh had never been in trouble before, and had a distinguished career working with young people and the community.
But Judge Duncan Harvey said a conviction was appropriate because of the severity of the offending.

- NZ Herald

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