Coach in smacking trial
The Brighton Argus

May 29, 2003

A basketball coach smacked a boy on his bare bottom as a punishment for skiving, a jury heard.

Anthony Awcock, 49, took the boy into a changing room and pulled down his shorts and underpants before slapping him.

Awcock, of Bentswood Crescent, Haywards Heath, is on trial at Lewes Crown Court accused of six charges of indecent assault.

Five of the offences relate to one boy. The other allegation relates to another child.

The jury heard Awcock admitted smacking the boys but said it was never on their bare bottoms.

He denied there had been any sexual motive and said he smacked them for motivational reasons and for a joke.

Richard Cherrill, prosecuting, told the jury Awcock was working as a coach at the time the offences were allegedly committed, between January 2001 and July last year.

He said the alleged assaults came to light after the younger boy complained to his brother and a friend.

Mr Cherrill told the jury: "What happened went beyond a joke. He had no right or business to smack the boy on the bare bottom or inspect the other boy's bottom. It was neither necessary or appropriate. It was for his own sexual purposes."

Mr Cherrill said on July 6 last year the boy was feeling unwell during training but Awcock accused him of exaggerating his illness and said to him: "Shall I give you a beating?"

The boy said no but Awcock took him into the changing room, pulled him on to his knee, took down his shorts and underpants and smacked him three times.

As the boy went to leave, the coach is alleged to have said to him: "You are lucky I am such a nice man."

The boy later revealed to police he had been smacked four other times on his bare bottom. The older boy said he had been smacked on a number of occasions by the defendant but only over his clothes.

On one occasion he was smacked noticeably harder than previous times and Awcock pulled down his shorts to see if he had left a mark.

Mr Cherrill said when Awcock was interviewed by police he accepted he had a habit of smacking boys he was coaching on the backside but claimed it was motivational.

Mr Cherrill said: "He said he would tap them but not hit them to hurt."

Awcock said he had slapped the 12-year-old as a joke because the child had been skiving. He told the police: "Skivers get a whack."

Awcock denied hitting the boy's bare bottom and said he had mistakenly smacked the older boy too hard and one of them had lowered his shorts to see if he had left a mark.

The trial continues.


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