A BARRISTER yesterday described the conduct of Hamilton mother-of-eight as inappropriate and blurring the boundaries of a teacher/student relationship but claimed it fell short of criminal conduct.
Diane Marie Brimble, 47, has pleaded not guilty in the Warrnambool County Court to six charges, including five counts of committing an indecent act with a child aged under 16 years and one count of using a telecommunications device to groom a child.
Barrister Jennifer Clark said in her closing address to the jury that Ms Brimble was a support for the boy and developed an affection beyond a normal teacher/student relationship.
“She hugged him and told him she loved him,” she said.
“Ms Brimble might have overstepped the normal teacher/student relationship but she has not overstepped into criminal conduct.”
Ms Clark said that although her client told police that messages she sent “doesn’t look good”, the question that needed to be asked was whether Ms Brimble had committed a criminal offence.
“It may have been inappropriate but that is not an offence,” she said.
Ms Clark said messages sent by Ms Brimble were part of a loss or grieving process after she no longer had contact with the boy.
She said it was extraordinary what was included in the boy’s second interview with police officers which was not included in the first.
The barrister said an alleged episode of Ms Brimble exposing her breasts to the boy would have been so distinctive that if that happened the boy would have included it in his first interview.
Ms Clark said that it was inexplicable and defied belief that alleged episode wasn’t included and cast doubt over the boy’s truthfulness.
She said Ms Brimble was adamant she did not engage in anything approaching sexual activity with the boy.
Judge Mark Taft gave the jury instructions about law and the jury panel retired yesterday afternoon to consider a verdict.