07 Oct 2022

Derry violin teacher found unanimously 'not guilty' of inappropriate sexual behaviour towards schoolgirls

A Derry violin teacher has been found unanimously not guilty at the Crown Court in Derry of eight charges of behaving in an inappropriate sexual manner towards four primary school girls in two local primary schools. Following an hour and a half hours of deliberations on the sixth day of the trial, the seven women and five men on the jury found Brian Bergin unanimously not guilty of committing the offences between August 2011 and May 2014. The four complainants had alleged that the defendant had at times touched them inappropriately and told them to do the splits during violin classes. Mr Bergin, a 60-year-old father of three from Brookhill in the Culmore area of the city, had described the allegations as fabrications. He had denied prosecution claims that he had committed the offences for his personal sexual gratification. The defendant, who was a employed as a music teacher by the Western Education And Library Board for the last thirty years, was suspended from his post four years ago after the allegations were made against him. In his evidence to the jury he repeated: "It did not happen, it did not happen". He also told the jurors: " I have been accused of things I did not do. If I could just take this opportunity as well to say this has destroyed our lives for the last four and a half years; I am married with a wife and children - I would never harm a child". Mr Bergin, who was accompanied by his wife during the six day long trial, showed no emotion as the jury foreman told Judge Philip Babington that they found Mr Bergin unanimously not guilty of the eight charges he had denied. Members of the four complainants families, several of whom had given evidence during the trial, were in the public gallery of Courtroom 4 to hear the not guilty verdicts announced by the foreman. A prosecution barrister told Judge Babington that two similar charges against the defendant remained on the books, not to be proceeded with without leave of the court or of the High Court. Judge Babington told the jurors that such cases were very difficult. He then announced that Mr Bergin could be released. Following his acquittal Mr Bergin declined to comment to the media.

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