A former student became involved in a betting competition operating from a Wollongong teacher's classroom after witnessing her peer's fascination with soccer, a court has heard.
The woman, who cannot be named due to her age at the time, recounted her one-off participation in the punters club during the hearing of Phil Saunders at Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday.
The PDHPE teacher has been placed on "alternative duties" while he fights charges including gambling with minors and intimidation.
The matter was part-heard in October last year and continued this week.
The woman said Saunders and his students would spend the last 20 minutes of each PDHPE class held on a Friday discussing which teams they tipped to win the next round of the English Premier League.
"Saunders knows soccer ... he's an EPL fan, he knows the teams," she said.
She recalled that one student would write the participants names and the team they picked on a classroom whiteboard, before collecting $2 coins from the underage betters.
"(The money) was held by that student in a Ziplock bag until someone won," she said.
The woman believed Saunders' involvement in the competition only extended to him discussing soccer teams.
She never saw him contribute financially to the gambling operation, despite the "sporty boys" attempts to convince him to do so.
"He just spoke about his teams, and that was it," the woman told the court.
"Saunders said he wouldn't be allowed to put in money, and that he wouldn't be putting in money."
Outside of discussions around football, she said Saunders would spend the rest of his lessons sitting at his computer instead of teaching the Year 12 syllabus.
She only got involved in one round of the betting after witnessing her peer's interest in soccer, however said she remained "laser-focused" on her studies.
The woman teared up in court as she recounted the "traumatic experience" of providing evidence to police following her "favourite" teacher's arrest during her HSC year.
"The whole situation was quite daunting," she said.
The former student admitted her memory may have been affected by the passage of time.
Three more witnesses are expected to provide evidence this week. The hearing, before Magistrate Michael Ong, continues.
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