Webb v Tang  WASC 344 (on Jade).
The appellant was convicted after trial before a Magistrate of one charge that, being a teacher who in the course of his work as a teacher formed the belief on reasonable grounds that a child had been the subject of sexual abuse, he failed to report that belief as soon as practicable after forming the belief, contrary to s 124B of the Children and Community Services Act 2004 (WA)
The conviction arose following events which occurred on a school sporting trip to Japan. There was no dispute that, after being told about an incident by a student AB, the appellant did not report it in the form required by the Act. The incident was ultimately reported by the Acting Headmaster of the school.
The issue at trial was whether the appellant ‘believe[d] on reasonable grounds’ that AB had been the subject of sexual abuse. That is, whether the appellant had a subjective state of mind inclining towards assent to, rather than rejecting, the proposition that AB had been the subject of sexual abuse.
On appeal the Court held that to the extent that the appellant teacher’s interview contained denials of the appellant’s positive belief, those denials must be rejected in light of all of the circumstances. Those denials could not, when considered in light of all of the circumstances, give rise to a reasonable inference consistent with innocence. The learned magistrate was therefore correct to conclude that the only reasonable inference was that the appellant formed the requisite belief and that it was on reasonable grounds.
Leave to appeal was rejected.