A disgraced teacher found guilty of sending indecent images of himself to two of his students has been given a suspended sentence.
Jason Simmonds, 34, was handed a six-month prison term, suspended for two years, in the Magistrate's Court.
Simmonds, who was sacked after his behaviour came to light, was found guilty of sending indecent images of himself via Snapchat to two students, who were both 17 at the time, over several months.
In their victim impact statements, one of the girls said Simmonds had started out as an "amazing role model", but that her trust in him as a teacher had been betrayed. Now, what Simmonds did is "always in the back of my mind when meeting new people".
The second victim also said she had trusted Simmonds as a teacher and mentor, and that his actions had left her feeling unable to open up or trust people.
After he pleaded not guilty, both victims had to give evidence in Court.
Defence Advocate Liam Roffey said his client still maintained his innocence, but conceded that the offences "are likely to be certified as sexually aggravated". He offered the Court a number of what he said were "glowing" personal references, including from former colleagues in education and from parents of other pupils he taught.
Advocate Roffey argued against the imposition of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order. He argued that the disgraced teacher deserved credit for his clean criminal record until now.
"He has paid a heavy price," Advocate Roffey told Judge Graeme McKerrell. "He has lost his job, his vocation and his reputation."
In his closing remarks, the Judge said that Simmonds' disgrace was entirely of his own making.
"This was a serious breach of trust by you. There can be no excuse and I would be surprised if you were ever to be entrusted at any other school going forward. So you have ruined and ended your career and for that you have no one else to blame but yourself."
"There can be no doubt that the offences were sexually aggravated; one does not send pictures of one's genitals to young females unless it is for a sexual purpose."
Judge McKerrell concluded that Simmonds had shown both "little judgement and a predatory instinct", as he expressed concerns about the defendants's lack of contrition.
"You continue to exist in a state of denial about the offences that have caused you to be found guilty and the fact you blame others and your victims in particular is of special concern."
The "charm" that was presented by his personal references was, in Judge McKerrell's estimation, "part of the dangerous web that you weave".
"In my view you should hang your head in shame, but sadly you do not seem to understand that. That is why you continue to pose an ongoing danger to young females that must be addressed."
However, in doing so, the Judge announced that he was "restricted" in the length of sentence he was able to impose for the offences, which was effectively, in the eyes of the law, the sending of indecent images to others via the telecommunications network.
He sentenced Simmonds to six months in prison, but decided to suspend the sentence, meaning Simmonds will only go to Les Nicolles if he commits further offences of a similar nature.
In addition, Judge McKerrell imposed a Sexual Offences Prevention Order and a 10-year notification order, as preventative and ongoing surveillance measures of Simmonds' behaviour.
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