Dobbins trial: Witness says alleged victim was 'enamoured' with accused

The trial of a principal of a Special Needs School accused of rape and sexual assault has heard from a witness responsible for child protection at the school.

Michael Dobbins.
Michael Dobbins.

Michael Dobbins (54) of Greenhaw Road in Derry is charged with six counts of rape, three counts of sexual assault and one count of sexual assault on someone who was unable to give consent due to a mental disorder.

He denies all the charges.

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At Thursday’s hearing a teacher at the school gave evidence that he had known Dobbins for many years.

He said that in March 2015 he was responsible for child protection.

The witness said that it was brought to his attention that the woman involved in the case had made allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

The jury was told that following procedures this would have been brought to the attention of the safeguarding officer in the school and to Social Services.

The witness was asked whether he had knowledge of protocols in place as regards this woman and Dobbins and he said that he was.

He explained that these were designed to prevent the woman going to Dobbins' office and to prevent pupils looking across at the school.

The witness told the jury that he was also made aware of allegations by the same woman that someone on Facebook had shown her pornography.

Gary McHugh KC for the prosecution asked was the teacher aware of the woman's attitude towards Dobbins and he told the court she was 'enamoured' of him and this was 'evident to most people'.

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He added there was 'a fascination there' and said he had heard about the woman's screen saver which featured a picture of Dobbins.

Under cross-examination by Eoghan Devlin for the defence, the witness agreed that the protocols in place were designed to stop the woman 'continually calling into the office'.

The trial also heard several statements from police officers who took part in searches at the defendant's home and office in April 2015.

They listed a series of items taken during these searches including iPads, memory cards, DVDs and a computer.

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The trial continues.