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World April verdict expected for Ontario teacher accused in Indonesian sex-abuse case

Canadian teacher Neil Bantleman looks out from a holding cell to speak with supporters before the start of his trial at a South Jakarta court on Dec. 23, 2014.

DARREN WHITESIDE/REUTERS

The family of a Canadian teacher accused of sexually abusing three students at an international school in Indonesia says a verdict in his case is expected by April.

Neil Bantleman's family says the judge presiding over the Burlington, Ont., man's trial told his lawyers they have until March 3 to call witnesses, after which a verdict will be announced on April 2.

The family says the timeline means the defence has only seven days to call witnesses, compared with 11 days granted to the prosecution.

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Bantleman was arrested in July along with an Indonesian teaching assistant, and both are accused of sexually abusing three students at the Jakarta International School.

Both men have maintained their innocence and the school's principal and a number of fellow teachers also say the two are innocent.

Bantleman's family has pointed out that Bantleman and the assistant, Ferdinand Tjiong, were only arrested after the parents of one of the alleged child victims failed in their efforts to reach a financial settlement with the school over alleged abuse by school janitors.

The janitors have been sentenced to up to eight years in prison following their separate but related trial. Their lawyers have called the verdicts unfair and have vowed to appeal.

Both Bantleman and Tjiong could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

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