A FORMER teacher at an independent school in Taunton has been charged with 14 counts of indecent assault against a former student.

Christopher Pollard, 69, is accused of committing the offences while he was a Spanish teacher at Taunton School in the 1970s and 1980s.

Of the 14 charges, four relate to assaults on the same boy when he was aged under 16, while the other ten concern the same person when he was aged over 16.

Pollard, who now lives in Spain, failed to attend a hearing this morning (Thursday) in Taunton Magistrates' Court to answer the allegations.

District judge David Taylor said he found it "astonishing" that a postal requisition demanding Pollard attend court had been sent by first class post to his home in Corredrera Baja, in Madrid, rather than recorded delivery.

The court heard that police interviewed Pollard about the accusations in August 2016 and the Crown Prosecution Service "started advising" in October last year, ahead of the decision to charge Pollard, who is on unconditional bail, on May 15 this year.

The judge said: "I cannot be satisfied that it (the postal requisition) has been served satisfactorily.

"It may be a European arrest warrant situation. I'm concerned about the process adopted."

He put the case back to this afternoon.

Meanwhile, Taunton School headmaster Lee Glaser has written to all parents and staff about the case.

He said: "I’d like to take this opportunity to reassure you that, as stated in our school vision, values and ethos, the wellbeing of our pupils is at the heart of everything we do.

"Their safety is of paramount importance and we do all that we can to protect them from harm. "Our safeguarding policies and procedures go beyond the statutory requirements and our recent ISI (Independent Schools Inspectorate) inspection report praised our culture."