Wednesday 17 January 2018

Father who took his daughter to Disney World during term time found guilty of rules breach

Jon Platt arrives at the Supreme Court in central London with his wife Sally
Jon Platt arrives at the Supreme Court in central London with his wife Sally

Alison Kershaw

A father who fought a long-running legal battle over taking his child on a term-time holiday was on Friday found guilty over the unauthorised trip.

Jon Platt was convicted of failing to secure his daughter's regular attendance at school in a hearing at Isle of Wight Magistrates' Court.

Giving the judgment, magistrate Jeannie Walker said: "The circumstances of this case fall squarely into that breach of school rules."

Platt was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £2,000 (€2,273) costs plus a £20 (€22.73) surcharge.

He said afterwards he was "relieved that's it's over".

"This has gone on far too long and far to much money has been spent on it by me and the taxpayer," he said.

Platt said he has spent close to £30,000 (€34,106) on fighting the case, with additional funds covered by legal aid.

Figures disclosed to the Press Association under Freedom of Information laws have shown, as of May 10, the Department for Education had spent close to £140,000 (€159,164) pursuing the legal action.

Platt said the case will have implications for parents around the country.

"There were around 8.5 million unauthorised absences around the country in a single term.

"Every single one of those is, if the headteacher decided that's what the school rules should be, an unauthorised breach, all 8.5 million of those are criminal offences."

The case returned to Isle of Wight Magistrates' Court, where it began almost two years ago, after Mr Platt lost a landmark legal battle at the Supreme Court, the UK's highest court, earlier this year over taking his daughter to Disney World in April 2015 during school time.

Press Association

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