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B.C. teacher will not testify in own sex trial

03/23/2012 10:17 EDT | Updated 05/23/2012 05:12 EDT

Final witnesses are taking the stand Friday in the trial of a Vernon, B.C., teacher accused of having a years-long sexual relationship with student that started when he was in Grade 7 — but the defendant, Deborah Ashton, will not be one of them.

Ashton has pleaded not guilty to five charges including sexual assault and sexual interference.

Her lawyer, Terry La Liberte, called his two witnesses Friday: Ashton's brother and daughter, and confirmed his client would not testify in her own defence.

Ashton did testify in her own defence in her first trial in 2011, which ended in a mistrial with a hung jury.

This trial is being heard by a Supreme Court justice alone.

Ashton has sat quietly since the trial opened March 5, listening to Crown witnesses testify about her alleged sexual encounters with one of her students.

The former student, now 22, was the first prosecution witness and testified that he and Ashton had more than 230 sexual encounters over a two-year period starting in 2002, when he was 12 and she was 37.

La Liberte accused the alleged victim of fabricating the story.

Anonymous letter not sent by ex-husband

Ashton was arrested in 2008 after someone sent an anonymous letter to the school district.

La Liberte accused Ashton's ex-husband, Mike Jellema, of threatening to write an anonymous letter when the couple's marriage was breaking down at the time of the alleged sexual assaults.

But Friday morning, the court heard the letter writer had come forward to reveal their identity — but his or her name has not been made public.

Prosecution and defence lawyers both said they will not call the letter-writer to testify.

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