An Illawarra school teacher will stand trial over accusations he molested two young girls earlier this year.
Mark Robert Forbes, 53, yesterday entered not guilty pleas in Wollongong Local Court to six indecent assault charges stemming from allegations he fondled the girls on an evening in March.
Forbes, who lived in Keiraville at the time, is on mandatory leave from his job as assistant school principal at Albion Park Public School.
It is alleged Forbes repeatedly touched both girls inappropriately at separate times during the evening, telling one to ‘‘keep it a secret’’.
Police say the girls divulged the incidents to Forbes’s wife shortly after they allegedly occurred. Forbes was arrested and charged a short time later.
Forbes’s lawyer, Todd Ritchie, yesterday said his client would waive the right to have a committal hearing, and instead wanted to proceed directly to a trial in the District Court.
Magistrate Michael Stoddart accepted Forbes’s plea, and ordered him to reappear in Wollongong District Court next Tuesday for arraignment.
During the course of the proceedings, Mr Ritchie said he did not expect Forbes’s trial to commence until mid next year due to a backlog of cases currently before the court.
He asked that an accompanying interim AVO taken out on behalf of the children involved be extended for another six months in order to ‘‘see what happens with the trial’’, he said.
Forbes, dressed in a black suit and tie, remained silent throughout the brief proceedings.
Magistrate Stoddart agreed to continue his current bail, which includes conditions that he live in Coffs Harbour and not have any contact with witnesses.