A schoolteacher, who consumed a bottle of wine while on anti-depressants, has been cleared of groping a fellow theatre-goer sitting next to him.
Irishman Charles Maxwell, 53, of Elizabeth House, Exeter Close, Watford told a jury his memory of the incident was erased and produced medical evidence to support his claim.
“I can’t remember touching anyone’s leg,” he told Inner London Crown Court. “Maybe I was asleep and it was an involuntary action.”
The jury took just fort-five minutes to unanimously find Maxwell not guilty of sexually assaulting the woman at a performance of ‘Amadeus’ at the Olivier Theatre on London’s South Bank on November 5, last year.
Witnesses said Maxwell, who taught English at the jewish Yavneh College, Borehamwood until February this year, also fiddled with his trousers, which were hanging off him when he stood up.
“I was probably moving my trousers because the button way cutting into my stomach,” he told the jury. “For someone of my size I’m forever adjusting my posture in the seat.”
Glowing character references from the school’s headmaster and colleagues, praising Maxwell’s work and ability as a teacher, were read to the jury.
He taught at the school for five years, specialising in ‘A’ Level literature.
Maxwell said he was depressed since his wife left him and he drank two large glasses of wine after the interval. “It was to knock myself out.”