A former maths teacher jailed for sexually abusing six teenage students failed today in a bid to overturn his conviction.
But the Court of Appeal reduced 76-year-old Patrick James Carton’s prison term from 13 years to eight and a half-years.
Taking into account his age and medical condition, judges also highlighted the lack of any contrition for offences committed over a period of nearly a quarter of a century.
Lord Justice Treacy said: “He’s totally unrepentant and expressed no regret or remorse.”
Carton, of Marguerite Close in Newcastle, Co Down, taught at St Colman’s College in Newry and De La Salle in Downpatrick.
Last year he was found guilty of carrying out 29 indecent assaults during private maths lessons.
He targeted five females and one male while tutoring them outside school over a period from 1983 to 2007.
The abuse involved a technique he referred to as ‘the star system’ where students were smacked on the bottom if they got questions wrong.
Carton, who retired as a teacher in 2002, began by hitting them over clothing but progressed on to striking bare bottoms, the court heard.
He claimed the method was used to challenge students to improve performance.
Carton was also found guilty of touching some of the former students in private areas, trying to make some victims kiss him and touch his crotch area.
By his own estimation he tutored some 150 students outside school over a 48-year period.
Defence lawyers contended that flawed directions to the jury rendered his convictions unsafe.
Despite rejecting those submissions, appeal judges backed submissions that the 13-year jail term imposed was manifestly excessive.
Lord Justice Treacy ruled that sentences imposed for some of the offences should run concurrently.
However, he also stressed: “It’s quite clear from the multiple victims and the scale and nature of the offending that condign punishment is necessary and justifiable to reflect the degree of culpability on the part of the appellant and the degree of harm suffered by those whom he indecently assaulted.”
The judge confirmed: “Given his age - he’s shortly to turn 77 - his medical condition, previous clear record and to some extent the delay in this case, taking into account all of those matters we consider the overall sentence of 13 years did not properly reflect the principle of totality.”
Reducing the prison term to eight and a half years, he added that Carton is to be subjected to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for that period.