Sex scandal teacher to avoid further charge

PROSECUTORS today opted not to proceed with a further charge against sex scandal teacher Bernadette Smith, who had an affair with a 16-year-old pupil.

Former teacher Bernadette Smith will avoid further prosecution. Picture: Facebook
Former teacher Bernadette Smith will avoid further prosecution. Picture: Facebook

Smith, 35, dodged a jail sentence in February when she was placed under supervision for two years after her infatuation with Gary Ralston, whom she taught at Bannockburn High School, near Stirling, led her into his bed.

She was placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register at Stirling Sheriff Court in November when she initially pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual activity with the boy, kissing him on the mouth and laying beside him only partly clothed.

Mother-of-three Smith, of Gill Park, Denny, Stirlingshire, was due to appear again at Falkirk Sheriff Court today after it was alleged that she had failed to sign on as a sex offender at her local police station within three days of the November court order.

She had earlier sent a letter pleading not guilty to the charge, which alleged she failed to attend a Falkirk police station on December 1 without reasonable excuse to give police her initial notification information.

The charge also alleged that, by failing to comply with the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act, she had breached bail.

Depute fiscal Graham McLachlan did not call the case, however.

Treating the case as “not called” brings the proceedings to an end without the prosecution having to formally ask the sheriff to “desert” them.

Smith, who was also struck off the General Teaching Council register earlier this year, taught history and English at the Bannockburn school.

Stirling Sheriff Court heard in December that Smith first confessed her feelings to the pupil in her classroom there.

She went with him to a park in Falkirk, where she kissed him, and went to bed with him in his home in Cowie, Stirlingshire, and lay beside him partially clothed.

The boy told some school friends, after which his grandmother found out about the affair and went to the school, which suspended Smith on September 19 last year.

After being sent home, Smith told a colleague that she had never got over the heartbreak of her husband having an affair, and she was going to leave him after “falling in love” with Gary.

She admitted to police that she stayed overnight in the boy’s bedroom and that she had been wearing only her jeans and a bra.

Sheriff Wyllie Robertson, who dealt with the Stirling court case, told her in February: “You have lost your reputation, your job and your career, and your marriage is at an end.

“You have caused distress to your immediate family, and with the media attention that this case has attracted, I suspect that your humiliation is complete.”