A PE teacher who slapped a four-year-old boy following an after-school football class has not been punished by the judge trying his case.
Ian Webber was convicted of assaulting the boy after being kicked by the victim when he told him not to pull post-it notes off an ideas display at a West Midlands school.
The youngster had a tantrum during the session, which led the teacher to ‘lose his rag’ and slap the boy twice on the knees.
The 54-year-old teacher, of Fairfields Hill, Polesworth, north Warwickshire, denied a charge of assaulting the youngster by beating in May last year.
But District Judge David Robinson discarded the submission of Webber's defence barrister Alexander Barbour that child witnesses in the case had engaged in ‘Chinese whispers’ about the incident.
The judge ruled their evidence was ‘compelling’ and told Webber that the law did not entitle him to smack the youngster.
However, Judge Robinson decided to only hand the teacher a conditional discharge because the incident will already have a ‘huge impact’ on his future.
He was ordered to pay the £850 costs as well as the victim surcharge and was not asked to pay any compensation.
Webber, who was helping at the football session involving around eight children, stepped in to assist the coach, his trial at Birmingham Magistrates' Court was told.
Passing sentence on Wednesday, the judge said: ‘Mr Webber, I take into account that you were dealing with a difficult situation - but you were the adult, he was the child.
‘The law did not entitle you to smack him in those circumstances.
‘I also take into account that there are mitigating circumstances in this case. You only got involved to try and help.’
The judge added: ‘You were doing the right thing, until you did the wrong thing.’
In his opening of the case, prosecutor Tim Talbot-Webb said: ‘Mr Webber was unsuccessful in calming the boy down, the tantrum continued and it seems that Mr Webber in the course of that lost his temper.
‘He picked the boy up by the arm so his feet left the ground. He was heard to say, 'If you kick me again I am going to smack you' and then he did smack him twice - once to each leg.
‘It was loud enough for a parent in the room to hear, although she didn't see contact being made.’
Judge Robinson said Webber had made an 'outstanding contribution’ to education and this was an ‘isolated incident in a long teaching career’.
In mitigation, Mr Barbour told the court Webber's colleagues described him as having an ‘incredible rapport with his pupils’.
Mr Barbour added that the disgraced teacher was likely to face a ‘summary dismissal for gross misconduct’ following his conviction.