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Probe as cops called in to Irish school over 'upskirt pics' scandal

Enniskillen Royal Grammar School
Enniskillen Royal Grammar School
Probe as cops called in to Irish school over 'upskirt pics' scandal

Cops were called into a top Ulster grammar school over shock claims that a male teenage pupil took pictures up the skirts of women teachers.

The photographs, taken without the teachers’ knowledge or consent, were found on a computer memory stick.

The police probe was so serious it resulted in a file being sent to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) HQ in Belfast.

The school at the centre of the investigation is Enniskillen Royal Grammar School (ERGS) in  Co. Fermanagh.

The Sunday World has learned that the female teachers allegedly subjected to the ‘inappropriate’ sneak pictures scam have suffered stress and trauma as a result.

Now, however, the PPS has revealed to us that there is to be no prosecution concerning the claims.

The female teachers who were allegedly targeted by the male pupil are said to be ‘deeply concerned’ and ‘disappointed’ by the PPS decision, according to sources.

The boy student whose alleged activities were probed by the police is understood to be in his late teens.

He is reported to be still attending the school.

On Friday, we put seven detailed and pertinent questions concerning the matter to the ERGS Principal Elizabeth Armstrong.

We received a one-line reply. It reads: “I have consulted with the Chair of the Board of Governors and, as you will be well aware, it would not be appropriate for the school to make any comment on a matter such as the one you have raised.”

Also on Friday, we contacted the PSNI and asked them had they been called in to probe the ‘inappropriate’ pictures claim.

The spokesperson at their Brooklyn HQ in Belfast confirmed: “Police conducted a number of enquiries after a memory stick containing inappropriate images was found in the Enniskillen area in November 2016. 

“A file was forwarded to the PPS in relation to the matter at the beginning of April 2017. There are no further details.”

On Friday, we also asked the Public Prosecution Service for a statement.

A spokesperson there came back to say: “The PPS has decided, having considered the evidence currently available, not to prosecute on the grounds that the evidential test is not met. 

“The activities reported to PPS by police as having been committed do not constitute an offence in criminal law.”

Significantly, however, the PPS did confirm that pictures were taken.  

The spokesperson at their Chichester Street HQ in Belfast stated: “The complainants who were photographed were not observed doing a private act and therefore the evidential test in respect of the offence of voyeurism is not met.”  

The spokesperson added: “Offences which might apply if the actions of the suspect had occurred in a public place cannot be prosecuted as there is insufficient proof that any of the photographs were taken in a public place.” 

The Sunday World is not disclosing the identity of the ‘complainants’ – the female teachers who were allegedly subjected to and suffered stress because of the alleged inappropriate pictures and the follow-up police probe.

It is now also a matter of record that no prosecution followed the shock allegation.

But there are concerns that the PPS found that there was ‘insufficient proof that any of the photographs were taken in a public place’.

One concerned parent told us: “How in this day and age can it not be proven where pictures were taken, and if a school is not a public place, where is?”

And a legal expert expressed her concern about the law not keeping pace with modern technology when she commented: “Legitimate questions should be asked, in the public interest, about the harm and hurt that can arise from an intrusion into a person’s privacy as a result of abuses of technology, and, importantly, we must challenge whether the law has kept pace.”

Enniskillen Royal Grammar School was formed last year as a voluntary co-educational school after the amalgamation of the former Enniskillen Collegiate Grammar School and Portora Royal School.

Portora was the alma mater of renowned and jailed gay sex icon, wit and writer Oscar Wilde, the internationally acclaimed playwright Samuel Beckett and also lists DUP MP Nigel Dodds among notable past pupils.