Former primary head denies fraud

Stanley Poots pictured outside Craigavon Courthouse. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Stanley Poots pictured outside Craigavon Courthouse. Picture By: Arthur Allison.

A retired headmaster who was awarded an MBE for services to education denied a raft of fraud allegations when he appeared in court on Monday.

Standing in the dock of Craigavon Crown Court, 71-year-old Stanley Poots, headmaster of Dromara Primary School for over 40 years, pleaded not guilty to a total of 25 offences.

These include 10 of forgery, five of fraud by false representation, three of fraud by abusing the position he held at the school, four of false accounting, two counts of using a false instrument and possessing an article to commit fraud, with all of the charges alleged to have been committed on various dates between October 20, 2006 and November 3, 2011.

Amongst the charges it is alleged that Mr Poots, whose address was given as c/o Dromara Primary School and who was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list in 2011 for services to education, forged an annual salary review, cashed cheques, created false invoices, and falsified an expenditure sheet and a Big Lottery Fund application form.

Mr Poots is the former president of the Ulster Teachers’ Union who retired from his post as headmaster in 2011 after 41 years.

In court yesterday, defence barrister Samuel Magee said he would be lodging a defence statement after he had consulted with Mr Poots, adding there were “many complex issues” associated with the case.

Mr Poots was released on continuing bail until the case is next before the court on March 21.

Mr Poots worked for 46 years as a teacher.

He began his career at Dromore Central Primary School before moving to Dromara Primary School, where he was principal for 41 years.

He is married with four grown-up sons, and served as president of the Ulster Teachers’ Union from 2007 to 2008.

He retired in August 2011. He was chair of a Department of Education working group.