A Wollongong teacher who stands accused of tipping on English Premier League teams with his HSC students has been quizzed about his betting habits outside of school hours.
Phil Saunders' hearing continued at Wollongong Local Court, in which he has pleaded not guilty to six charges including gambling with minors, stemming from a tipping competition run out of his PDHPE classroom during February 2021.
Saunders took to the witness stand on Tuesday where he said he allowed a tipping competition to run in class, however reiterated to the students that no money would become involved.
He claimed he confronted a male student after it became apparent he collected other students' money.
"I said to (the student), 'This has to stop. Give the money back'," Saunders told the court.
Saunders' evidence continued on Wednesday where he was relentlessly questioned on his betting outside of school hours in legal 'punters clubs' during 2020, in which he admitted to putting money on horses.
However he initially denied ever betting on English Premier League teams. Prosecutor Tim George showed Saunders a document depicting a series screenshots from Saunders' phone when it was seized by police following his arrest in 2021.
One screenshot showed a receipt for a $50 bet placed on an English Premier League game, while two others showed odds for another EPL game and an NRL game.
"You were checking those odds because you were interested in betting on those games, weren't you?" Mr George said.
"No," Saunders said, adding that he was checking them for someone else in the punters club.
Saunders said he couldn't recall placing the bets depicted in the screenshots and assumed they were sent to him by others in the WhatsApp group he was a part of.
However he did admit that by virtue of being part of the club, he would have derived financial benefit in what others bet on. When it was his week to place bets, Saunders said he only did so on horse races.
The hearing, before Magistrate Michael Ong, continues.
Read more Illawarra court and crime stories here.
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