Goddard trial postponed

The trial of former school counsellor charged with the rape and sexual assault of young boys has been postponed to December 3.

Thus far eight boys have testified that they were either raped, sexually assaulted or both by their school guidance counsellor, Darren Goddard.

Goddard (32) faces 15 counts in total — one of accessing child pornography, another of being in possession of child pornography, and the rest for sexual assault and rape. The incidents all allegedly took place between 2012 and 2016.

At the time he was the guidance counsellor at a local primary school. Goddard has pleaded not guilty.

The children have testified through an intermediary. When each boy told his story, he was seated in a child-friendly room and could not see anyone in court. However, the children could be seen in the courtroom on a television screen.

Only an intermediary was present with them in the room. She had an earpiece through which she could hear whatever was said in court. The boys could not hear anything.

The intermediary would rephrase the questions being asked so that the children could understand what was being said.

During cross examination, defence advocate Shane Matthews’ questions were softened by the intermediary and Judge Kate Pillay, who was vocal when she did not consider a question to be fair or appropriate.

She stressed to each boy that he did not need to be afraid to tell the court the whole truth. She reminded the boys that it was fine if they were uncertain or could not remember things clearly.

She also encouraged them to inform the court when they were tired and needed a break. There was an understanding that the children got tired quickly so court started on most days at 9 am instead of 10 am. It would break for short periods whenever the children became tired, restless and unable to focus.

There is only one boy left to testify in the trial. He is expected to take the stand when the case resumes in December.