Trial of former priest accused of assaults at top Catholic school set for May
A FORMER priest who taught at a Highland school is to go on trial accused of a string of assaults against his pupils with weapons, including a spiked golf shoe and a hockey stick.
Father Benedict Seed, 83, who appeared at Inverness Sheriff Court under his real name of Thomas Seed, was due to go on trial before a jury this month.
But his lawyer, Clare Russell, told Sheriff Margaret Neilson that she was not yet prepared for trial. It will now take place in May.
Ms Russell said: “I have just today received an 81-page statement by a prosecution witness which I will need to peruse and that will take some time. I also wish to look at this witness’s mental health record. In addition, there is a potential defence witness in Italy who will require to be interviewed.”
She added that there were other procedural issues involving disclosure of documentation by the Crown which required to be resolved. Fiscal Roderick Urquhart did not oppose her request for an adjournment and Sheriff Neilson re-assigned the trial to the jury sitting of May 15.
Mr Seed, of Brora, Sutherland, is accused of assaulting eight boys at Fort Augustus Catholic School in the 1970s and 1980s.
The incidents are alleged to have happened between June 1974 and July 1988 when Mr Seed was a chemistry teacher and headmaster at the Roman Catholic school.
Mr Seed denied eight charges of assault to injury. It is alleged he assaulted a boy then aged 12 or 13 by throwing him to the ground, striking him repeatedly on the head, shouting and screaming at him, instructing him to bend over a desk while another pupil held him down and repeatedly striking him on the body with a cane.
He is accused of assaulting a boy, then aged 12-14, instructing him to remove his clothing down to his underpants and repeatedly striking him on the body with a belt, a cane and a spiked golf shoe.
Another two charges claim that Mr Seed repeatedly struck an 11- year-old pupil on the body with a cane; and that he dragged a 14 to 15 year old from his bed, into his study and repeatedly struck him.