A JURY took just 20 minutes to find a teacher not guilty of having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old pupil.
Father-of-two Peter Smith walked free from Leeds Crown Court yesterday after he was cleared of 10 different counts of engaging in sexual acts with a child by a person in a position of trust.
Mr Smith, 38, of Pilling Lane in Scissett, has always admitted having an affair with the former pupil behind his wife Joanna’s back.
But it was only after the pupil had left the West Yorkshire school where Mr Smith taught him that the pair had an affair and the boy was then over the age of consent.
The teacher will now try to rebuild his relationship with his wife and their two children.
Throughout his trial he said he blames himself and regrets the affair which has had a “traumatic impact” on his family.
Wife Joanna – a lecturer at Leeds Metropolitan University – has stood by her husband of nearly 15 years throughout the case.
Mr Smith was brought to trial after a former pupil of his accused him of starting a relationship with him when he was just 15.
The former pupil – who cannot be named for legal reasons – claimed Mr Smith had groped and kissed him in his office and they had performed sexual acts on a school trip.
But yesterday the jury took just 20 minutes to find the teacher not guilty on all counts.
The eleven-strong jury were not expected to return a verdict yesterday, but after the judge finished summing up there was an hour left of the court day and he sent them out to begin their deliberations.
Former pupils of Mr Smith gave evidence during the case.
One, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told how he thought the former pupil making the allegations was an “attention seeker” and tended to “try and shake things up a little”
And he said he admired Smith as a teacher.