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The trial of the Parktown Boys High waterpolo coach accused of molesting 23 pupils has once again been postponed, though sources close to the matter have revealed the reasoning for the delay could significantly shorten the proceedings.

The former teacher is facing 327 charges, ranging from rape, sexual assault, attempted murder, showing pornography to minors and sexual grooming, all relating to incidents during his short tenure at the school between 2015 and 2016.

Sources close to the investigation revealed to the Saturday Star last year that the abuse was only uncovered after a pupil approached the school’s security to look through CCTV footage to find a missing bag. As security searched the tapes, the team stumbled on footage of the accused allegedly assaulting a pupil.

The teenager was approached and the investigation began, uncovering more than a dozen other pupils who came forward with stories of similar incidents. After the incident became public knowledge through the media, even more pupils approached the school’s administration, forming the 23-strong set of 14 to 16-year-old complainants to testify.

Last week, the coach - who cannot be identified until he pleads to the charges - appeared at the High Court sitting in Palm Ridge where his case was subsequently postponed for his new legal aid lawyer to meet with prosecutor.

However, the Saturday Star has confirmed from two National Prosecuting Authority sources that a meeting concerned a possible plea negotiation. If the coach pleads guilty to some of the charges, this could lead to a shorter trial, and some of the young complainants could avoid cross-examination.

While the coach has only been accused of one incident of rape, many of the charges consist of sexual assault for inappropriate behaviour with the pupils, with more than 90 attempted murder charges linked to alleged incidents where he would choke pupils until they were unconscious.

The trial is set to continue on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Parktown Boys is probed for alleged teacher misconduct, with four teachers resigning and two being transferred out of the school in recent months since the education department probe began. At least nine teachers were accused of various infractions, from secondary victimisation of the pupils involved in the molestation case to racist incidents and a pupil assault.

The Saturday Star