Trial of for­mer priest ac­cused of as­saults at top Catholic school set for May

The Herald - - NEWS -

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.

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