A retired Dromara headmaster who was awarded an MBE for services to education has been ordered to stand trial on 25 allegations of fraud.
In court yesterday (Monday)
71-year-old Stanley Poots, principal of Dromara Primary School for more than 40 years, declined to comment on the allegations, a defence solicitor having previously told Lisburn Magistrates Court the matters were denied.
Mr Poots, whose address was given as c/o Dromara Primary School, Hillsborough Road, faces a total of 25 charges including 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.
All of the offences are alleged to have been committed on various dates between October 20, 2006 and November 3, 2011.
Among the charges it is alleged that Mr Poots, awarded his MBE in the 2011New Year’s Honours list, forged an annual salary review, cashed cheques, created false invoices, falsified an expenditure sheet and a Big Lottery Fund application form.
Mr Poots confirmed he was aware of the charges and did not object to the Preliminary Enquiry committal hearing.
It is not the first time Mr Poots has been accused of fraud.
He was in 2012 charged with 15 offences - relating to a sum of £73,000; it was alleged he made 90 fraudulent cheques, dishonestly abused his position to obtain money from a schools’ cross-community account and falsely requested money for school trips.
However the case was dropped by the Public Prosecution Service in July of that year.
This week a prosecuting lawyer submitted that, based on the papers before the court on the new charges, there was a Prima Facie case for Mr Poots to answer, a submission with which his solicitor took no issue.
Releasing Mr Poots on his own bail of £500, District Judge Rosie Watters returned the case to Craigavon Crown Court and ordered him to appear there on February 4 for arraignment, when the charges will be put to him.
Mr Poots worked as a teacher for 46 years.
He began his career at Dromore Central Primary School before moving to Dromara Primary School where he was principal for 41 years.
He also served as president of the Ulster Teachers’ Union from 2007 to 2008.