Wasatch High coach ordered to stand trial for allegedly striking, kneeing student

Published: Thursday, July 7 2011 2:48 p.m. MDT

The boy, however, said he wasn't actually playing because he couldn't run. He was just there in class holding a hockey stick.

Witnesses previously told the media that North was fed up with the student who was known for back-talking and disrupting his class. One student previously said the coach had tapped the boy on the head to remind him to be quiet.

Prosecutors called a police officer and school and district officials to testify Thursday. Though none of them directly witnessed the incident, they said they had all viewed the video and saw what appeared to be North hitting the boy with a hockey stick and kneeing him.

Each testified that the boy was seen talking with friends after the incident, at one point apparently re-enacting what happened to him. They did not notice him limping and say he stayed in class.

Card pointed out in the videotape how before the alleged incident, other students were messing around with the boy and appeared to poke him at least three times with a hockey stick themselves, including once in the groin area. None of the prosecution witnesses, however, testified to seeing that on the tape.

Johnson agreed the videotape evidence should have been better preserved by police, but ruled the defense could still argue its case without the full tape.

The courtroom was full Thursday with supporters for both sides. Many of the boy's family members were present and hugged each other after the judge allowed the tape to be submitted as evidence. At several points, family members could be seen shaking their heads as they listened to testimony. The teen sat quietly and looked down at the ground as the decision about the videotape was made.

North also had friends and family present for support. In March, hundreds of students from Wasatch High walked out of class in support of the popular teacher.

Card said he would need three days for trial and plans to call "one expert witness and a whole bunch of students," noting there were 47 in the gym class that day.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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