Jury reaches not guilty verdict in teacher sex trial

A Queen's Bench jury has found a Prince Albert teacher not guilty of sexually exploiting a student.

'This is God's victory,' teacher says of not guilty verdict

A smiling Bonnie McLachlan, in the white coat, leaves the court in Prince Albert after a jury found her not guilty of sexual exploitation of a student some 18 years ago. (CBC)

A Queen's Bench jury has found a Prince Albert teacher not guilty of sexually exploiting a student.

After deliberating for several hours Friday, the jury acquitted Bonnie McLachlan, 51, of the charge.

McLachlan had been alleged to have carried on a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old student in 1993 and 1994.

On Friday morning, just before the jury began deliberations, the judge told them to ignore evidence relating to a school trip to Banff, Alberta.

The judge said the woman was charged based on allegations that the sexual exploitation took place in the Prince Albert, Sask, area.

Some witnesses testified they saw the teacher straddle the student in a hot tub, during the Banff trip.

The judge told the jury to ignore those details.

The jury began deliberations around 10 a.m. CST.

'God's victory': teacher says

The verdict came later that afternoon.

"This is God's victory," McLachlan said to reporters as she quickly left the court building.

The alleged victim in the case did not speak to reporters and did not show any emotion, beyond a look of disappointment, as he left the court.

After the verdict was announced, and McLachlan was told she was free to go, the teacher smiled and hugged her husband. Then, she entered a side room with her supporters and a small cheer could be heard from the room.

The crown prosecutor, Jennifer Claxton-Viczko, told reporters that justice officials will review the case and determine whether or not they would appeal.

"I will consider it," Claxton-Viczko said. "I will discuss it with my colleagues before I would say for sure and decide whether I would recommend it, but I'm certainly going to be looking into it."

McLachlan's lawyer spoke briefly to reporters, about the verdict.

"I was confident the jury would do the right thing," Peter Abrametz said.

It was not immediately clear what would become of McLachlan's teaching career. She was suspended when the charges arose, about a year ago.