The Paper Committal was a speedy one. It ended yesterday with former Bishops’ High School teacher Coen Jackson being committed to stand trial at the High Court in Georgetown for allegedly engaging in sexual activity with an underage girl, one of his former students.
It is alleged that between December 2010 and May 2011, at D’Urban Street, Lodge, Jackson, now 39, engaged in sexual activity with a child under 16 years by abusing his position of trust. He has not been required to plead to the indictable charge and is presently out on $300,000 bail.A Paper Committal into the offence concluded yesterday when Principal Magistrate Judy Latchman announced that there was sufficient evidence against Jackson for him to stand trial before a judge and jury for the offence which he is charged.
Attorney-at-Law Siand Dhurjon, who Jackson retained, declined to make closing arguments, as such, reserving his client’s defence
for the High Court. As a result, Magistrate Latchman informed Jackson that he will go on trial at the next practicable sitting of the Demerara Assizes.
According to information, an investigation was launched after a former student of Jackson’s filed a report alleging that she had sexual contact with the teacher while she was still a student. The matter was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions, (DPP) for advice and a charge was instituted against Jackson.
The accusation against Jackson was first brought to the fore by Cultural Policy Advisor within the Ministry of Social Cohesion, Ruel Johnson. Jackson retained legal representation and denied the allegations of sexual abuse of students under his instruction. He had accused Johnson of taking such action, because he had been in communication with Johnson’s wife.
Johnson, in a letter of complaint to Chief Education Officer, Mr. Marcel Hutson, suggested that Jackson had been sexually abusing female students for many years. Johnson alleged that the stories of abuse started in the late 1990s, beginning at another City secondary school, and followed Jackson’s career through attachments at several other schools.
The Cultural Advisor’s letter of complaint was also sent to the Ministries of Social Protection, Legal Affairs, Public Health, Public Security and Social Cohesion. The complaint had forced the Education Ministry into investigation mode. Jackson was sent on administrative leave to facilitate the investigation. At the end of the process, the findings were sufficient to warrant a police investigation.
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