Teacher dodges jail for assault

2015-02-27 00:00

A TEACHER, who in a “moment of madness” assaulted a pupil at Heather Secondary School for talking in class, was yesterday sentenced to four years’ imprisonment, which was conditionally suspended.

The incident took place on ­September 11, 2012.

Kaveer Sinanin (33) of Northdale was warned by regional court magistrate Chris van Vuuren yesterday that if he repeated the offence, he’s likely to find himself in prison.

Van Vuuren said the assault on the ­14-year-old pupil was “an extremely ­serious matter”.

“He struck the pupil in front of the class because he talked in class. He told him to come forward, asked him to kneel, slapped him in the face, punched him in the face and kicked or kneed him in his ribs.”

The boy testified that he’d asked a friend for help with his school work, when he was called out by Sinanin and assaulted.

“This was a cowardly act by a teacher on a 14-year-old boy,” said Van Vuuren.

Lawyer Narain Naidoo told the court ­Sinanin is married, has a young child and is in stable employment.

He stressed that Sinanin had enjoyed a “good relationship” with the victim and his other pupils before the incident.

Even afterwards he’d continued teaching there, he added.

Van Vuuren said the court had accepted the state’s version that Sinanin had a good relationship with the teenager. However, in his evidence Sinanin was “unremorseful” and “set out to sully” his victim’s name.

He had tried to make out the boy was “disreputable and disruptive”. This was aggravating, he said.

Van Vuuren added the court accepted the assault wasn’t premeditated and Sinanin had acted in a “moment of madness”.

He said attempts to mediate the case failed because Sinanin persisted with his plea of not guilty.

Van Vuuren said no purpose would be served by sending Sinanin to jail.

According to evidence led in the trial, the pupil had initially been afraid to report the incident to his parents because he feared his father’s reaction, and victimisation by the teacher. However, a neighbour told the boy’s parents to talk to him after noticing a mark on his face where he was punched.

In his evidence, Sinanin denied assaulting the pupil but said the boy felt humiliated by being called up in front of the class and threatened to have him (Sinanin) fired.

Sinanin and his attorney confirmed in response to inquiries after the case that he is currently still teaching but at a ­“different school”. He was, and still is, a governing body-paid teacher.

Asked if any disciplinary action has, or will be taken against Sinanin, Education Department spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said, “We are going to ask our district officials to give us a comprehensive report on the matter with a view to ­establishing what really happened.”

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