A teenage boy who caught a well-respected teacher allegedly masturbating to pornography in a school classroom was left nervous and shaking, saying he never wanted to talk about the incident again.
The former teacher, from a top Auckland school, is on trial at the Auckland District Court before Judge Anne Kiernan for allegedly committing an indecent act in June 2013. He denies masturbating, but concedes he was watching pornography in the empty classroom during lunchtime.
He no longer teaches, resigning after the boy made the allegation and then being suspended by the Teachers' Council a month later.
The man's name is suppressed although the school does not support his desire to keep his identity a secret.
Saying he had thought the teacher to be "cool", the 17-year-old witness told the court he'd gone during the lunch break to see the man about moving to a more advanced class.
Believing the door was locked, he got his friend to give him a "boost" to peer in the window to see inside.
"He was up there for about three to five seconds then he jumped down and ran away," his friend said. "I said, 'what's wrong with you?' And he just had this terrified look on his face."
The boys, who usually hung out in a room for students with learning difficulties who "struggled to cope in the playground" at lunchtime, returned to their mates who noticed there was something wrong with their friend. When the boys pushed him, he told them what he'd seen.
The witness told the court in the few seconds he'd glanced through the window he'd been able to see the teacher sitting at the desk looking at a laptop. He hesitated and stammered, with prosector Nick Webby giving him lots of time.
"The, ah, he was, I was kind of ... his pants were down somewhat, he was masturbating."
Back in the lunchroom, the other boys had thought it was hilarious, the friend said. However, they soon noticed the witness was not laughing.
"He was trying to stay out of it. He never wanted to speak about it again. He didn't want the images going back into his mind," the boy said.
A teacher aide who overheard the boys laughing said he asked the student what was going on. "He just wanted me to drop it. He was shaking and nervous," the man said.
Defence lawyer Richard Earwaker did not believe the witness had seen the teacher masturbating. "Did you make a story up for your mates?" he asked. "No," the boy replied.
The defence disputes the allegation the act took place in public. The trial continues today.