A music teacher has been found guilty of abusing a young student over the course of a year and dozens of piano lessons in the 1980s.
A music teacher has been found guilty of abusing a young student over the course of a year and dozens of piano lessons in the 1980s.

‘Creepy’ music teacher found guilty of abusing student

A music teacher and church organist has been found guilty of historical sex crimes against a young pupil in the 1980s.

Malcolm Winston Day, 78, was charged with two counts of maintaining an unlawful sexual relationship and stood trial before a judge alone in the District Court.

The two charges related to different victims who were sisters aged 10 and 11 at the time of the abuse.

On Friday, District Court Judge Paul Slattery found Day guilty of sexually abusing the younger of the two sisters, but made a finding of not guilty in relation to the older girl.

Day operated a music school out of a building in Parkside and conducted private piano lessons for students.

In January 1985, both sisters begun lessons with Day at his school.

The two girls knew Day through the local church where he played the organ.

Initially the sisters had lessons together but were later separated and whoever was not having the lesson would sit in another room doing homework.

For the younger sister, Judge Slattery heard, the abuse started slowly with Day inappropriately touching her and soon moved to more serious offending.

In his published verdict Judge Slattery said the victim found the older man's touching "creepy unpleasant and awkward".

The victim thought the inappropriate touching and later sexual abuse was part of Day's teaching routine.

Music teacher Malcolm Winston Day has been found guilty of abusing one of his students over the course of more than a year and dozens of piano lessons. Picture: Sean Fewster.
Music teacher Malcolm Winston Day has been found guilty of abusing one of his students over the course of more than a year and dozens of piano lessons. Picture: Sean Fewster.

The offending only stopped when the victim volunteered for school choir, knowing rehearsal was at the same time as the lessons and hoping it would bring an end to the abuse.

More than 30 years after the offending both sisters went to the police and made an official complaint.

In 2018 at the prompting of police the victim called Day and confronted him about the abuse.

Judge Slattery said Day admitted to his victim that what he had done had been wrong and that he did not think it would create such lasting harm.

In his reasons for finding Day guilty, Judge Slattery said the legal validity of the call in the trial was limited, but he concluded that it was evidence of the credibility of the witness.

Day took the stand in his own defence and denied the offending, saying he may have put his arms around the victim's shoulders, but did not abuse her.

The judge ruled that he was satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Day had abused the younger student over the course of more than a year and dozens of music lessons.

However, he said he was not satisfied that he had abused the older sister.

After the verdict was announced on Friday Day's bail was revoked and he was taken into custody pending sentencing submissions.

*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.   

Originally published as 'Creepy' music teacher found guilty of abusing student



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