A former principal has been arrested and fined after he was caught loitering outside the home of a teacher who worked at his school.
David Bargh, who headed Dargaville High School on the north island of New Zealand, pleaded guilty to one charge of unlawfully being in an enclosed yard and three charges of loitering.
The teacher, Jessica McPherson, spotted Bargh twice on her property during two nights in September last year before he was caught and arrested a third time.
At Whangarei District Court yesterday, McPherson detailed how she had been left traumatised by the incidents, telling the court how Bargh’s actions had taken a toll on her emotional well-being.
“I am only now fully able to comprehend the toll it has taken on my emotional well-being,” she said.
“Once an arrest is made there is an expectation that everything is OK but the trauma has only just begun at that point.”
Bargh was ordered to pay $1,000 in reparations to McPherson as a result of the trauma she suffered.
However, Bargh's lawyer Wayne McKean argued for a discharge without conviction, telling the court that Bargh’s “paternal and caring” checking on the teacher had spiralled out of control, making him depressed, compulsive and obsessive.
McKean added that Bargh had never been in trouble before and had a distinguished career working with young people and the community.
“He's a good teacher with a lot to offer,” he said.
Despite the plea, the presiding Judge, Duncan Harvey, upheld the conviction, reasoning that it was appropriate due to the severity of Bargh’s actions.
“While the complainant has suffered no physical injuries we have heard about the psychological injuries caused. They are clearly long-lasting,” Harvey said, but added that Bargh was otherwise a “good and useful” member of society”.