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Trial of man accused of indecently touching boys ends in hung jury

After 18 hours of deliberations over four days, the jury has been discharged by Justice Duffy after not being able to reach a verdict.

Benjamin Christopher Missi Swann, 55, known as Benjy Swann, had denied offending against seven boys.

He faced 11 charges of doing an indecent act on a young person; each of which carried a maximum penalty of seven years' imprisonment.

The former high school teacher held a teacher's certificate for three decades and taught at various Auckland schools, the last of which was Ōtāhuhu College.

Justice Duffy had instructed the jury that they must only find the defendant guilty if they were satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the indecent acts happened - anything less must be a not guilty verdict.

The Crown's case was that seven boys were touched indecently by Mr Swann, some without their clothes on and some in a locked room.

The Defence argued the inappropriate touching did not happen, and that the boys' claims contained half truths and lies.

Mr Swann's name was initially suppressed when he first appeared in the Manukau District Court in September 2017 but this was lifted a year later.

rnz.co.nz

Benjamin Christopher Missi Swann at the High Court in Auckland
Benjamin Christopher Missi Swann at the High Court in Auckland Source: rnz.co.nz