A special education teacher took issue with repeated questions from a defence lawyer on Tuesday about why she didn't report allegations of abuse perpetrated by her school's principal during the 2017-2018 school year.
The woman — whose name will be withheld in relation to a publication ban on identifying the children in the case — said she was scared for her job, and felt threatened by Robin McGrath.
Judge David Orr instructed the media on Tuesday to also not mention the name of the primary-elementary school in Conception Bay South.
After nearly eight hours of testimony, the teacher broke down in the afternoon while McGrath's lawyer, Tom Johnson, went through each instance where she alleges McGrath assaulted her student and asked her if she reported them.
"As an educator, I had a duty and I didn't do that, and I will live with that forever," she said.
About an hour later, Johnson returned to the issue and the witness exploded in anger. She turned her gaze from Johnson to McGrath, sitting silently about 10 feet away.
"I didn't do this. You did this," she yelled at him.
On Monday, the witness testified she saw McGrath tip her student out of his chair, drag him to the bathroom shower and douse him in cold water. She also said on other occasions he drove his fingers into the child's collarbone and intentionally stepped on his hand.
McGrath is facing four counts of assault, all against students with disabilities, and one count of uttering threats.
Throughout more than six hours of cross-examination over two days, the witness argued with Johnson and fought back against most of his questions. Johnson returned to some questions repeatedly, only garnering a few objections and interruptions from the Crown prosecutor and judge.
Johnson pressed the woman on why she didn't report the incidents she testified to on Monday. He read through other incident reports she filed throughout the year and asked dozens of questions about a scheduling issue the witness had brought up to McGrath early in her time at the school.
She had told several people about her issues with McGrath, always mentioning how her duty schedule was unfair, but never mentioning allegations of assault.
'He is a piece of work'
Johnson held plenty of surprises for the witness — letting her know many of her former colleagues at the school were testifying in McGrath's defence, and asking her to respond to things they will say about her.
He produced Facebook Messenger conversations she had with a friend where she said McGrath had "little man syndrome" and was "a piece of work."
"He is a piece of work," she said in response. "I'm sitting here right now in this courtroom because he is a piece of work."
It was also revealed on Tuesday that McGrath will testify on his own behalf, and that he will deny all the incidents she described.
"Mr. McGrath is steadfast and will be steadfast that this did not happen," Johnson said.
"I don't accept that," the witness replied. "I am not sitting here today to accept that."
The trial is slated to run for 10 days. It continues Wednesday morning with a new witness on the stand for the prosecution.
Testimony so far indicates the line of questioning will get deep into conflicts at the school between staff members — rivalries, alliances and affairs — though it's not clear how it is relevant to the vulnerable children at the centre of the allegations of assault.
So far the court has only heard allegations related to one of the five charges McGrath is facing.