Philip Kenneth Johns
From the Press (Christchurch) 17th October 1997
A driving instructor was yesterday found guilty of indecently touching two female students, one of whom was an undercover policewoman. Philip Kenneth Johns, 48, shook his head as the Christchurch District Court jury returned its verdicts after four hours. Johns was acquitted of two related charges of indecently assaulting two other pupils in August and September last year. Judge Neil Hattaway remanded him on bail for sentence today.
The jury had heard that a young female compliance officer with the Land Transport Safety Authority had claimed Johns indecently touched her when she took a lesson with him as part of a covert operation into uncertified driving instructors. Five days later, a teenaged pupil also claimed she had been pinched on the stomach by him during a lesson.
After the compliance officer complained, two policewomen and a policeman were sent to pose as clients. The two women said Johns indecently touched them but the man said there was virtually no contact between them.
David Ruth, for Johns, told the jury that his client's conduct could be described variously as having been ``presumptuous, objectionable, politically incorrect, boorish, offensive, unacceptable, outmoded and with teaching methods firmly rooted in the 1970s''. None of those descriptions necessarily made his conduct indecent, he said. Mr Ruth said Johns was entitled to be acquitted if it was reasonably possible that his contact had been accidental.
The Press (Christchurch), October 18th 1997
A driving instructor who served time in an American jail for murdering his wife was yesterday fined $2000 for indecently touching two young female pupils under the guise of tuition.
Philip Kenneth Johns, 48, had told one of the women he indecently assaulted that his wife ``had been murdered in the States''. He said the same to an undercover policewoman who posed as a client as part of the investigation into the touching. The detective in charge of the indecency investigation said outside court that Johns served nine years in an Oregon jail for the 1983 fatal shooting before being deported to New Zealand.
The Christchurch District Court jury had heard that the indecency allegations were first raised by a Land Transport Safety Authority compliance officer who posed as a client to investigate allegations of lessons being taken by uncertified instructors. Johns was found guilty of indecently assaulting her and one of two undercover policewomen who were sent to pose as clients.
From the Press (Christchurch) 18th October 1997
A driving instructor tried to proposition an undercover policewoman who was investigating allegations that he was indecently assaulting young female pupils, a Christchurch District Court jury was told yesterday.
Philip Kenneth Johns, 48, allegedly made "completely unnecessary'' physical contact with two undercover policewomen and two other female pupils, prosecutor Philippa Currie said. Johns denies four charges of indecent assault during driving lessons in August and September last year.
Ms Currie said a young female compliance officer with the Land Transport Safety Authority had booked a lesson with Johns in August last year as part of a covert operation to investigate allegations of uncertified instructors. The officer told the court that Johns's contact with her left her feeling stunned.``I didn't feel any of his behaviour was appropriate for a driving instructor.''
A teenager who took a lesson five days later claimed Johns pinched her skin under her breast through her clothes. The compliance officer's complaint prompted the police to send two policewomen and a policeman to pose as pupils.
One woman said: ``He said to me towards the conclusion of the lesson that he was attracted to me, attracted to my intelligence, and thought I had good looks. When he said that to me he placed his hand on my shoulder. He mentioned after the lesson that he'd like to take me out to dinner.'' The other policewoman said she felt ``sick'' at his conduct towards her.
From the Press (Christchurch) 14th March 1997
An appeal against the Christchurch District Court's refusal to grant interim name suppression to a local driving instructor was dismissed by a High Court judge yesterday.
Philip Kenneth Johns, 47, faces charges of indecently assaulting four female pupils during driving lessons last year. Justices of the peace who committed Johns for trial refused to grant him interim name suppression but granted a temporary order to allow an appeal to the High Court. Counsel for the man, Tim Rainey, said at yesterday's appeal that publication of the man's name could unduly prejudice a new business venture the appellant was discussing with a potential investor.
Jonathan Eaton, for the Crown, said suspicion was falling on other driving instructors in Christchurch and it would lessen with publication. Publication may also lead to other complainants coming forward. Justice Tipping dismissed the appeal.
Alex Trixan Phillip Johns
Date of Birth
1949 (D.O.B. is approximate)
At large in Addington, Christchurch
Fined $2000 in October 1997
Further sentence info to be updated
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