Yesterday, Basildon Crown Court was told how Anton Van Dellen – a lecturer on BPP Law School’s Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) until as recently as April – drove a 15-year-old boy to a secluded spot, locked the doors of his car and encouraged him to carry out a sex act.
The former lecturer on the BPTC conference skills and intellectual property modules at BPP’s Holborn branch denies the charge of meeting a child aged under 16 after sexual grooming.
According to prosecution barrister Cyrus Shroff, the boy had made it clear that he was only 15 before the pair met, to which Van Dellen had responded: “We can meet but we can’t do anything naughty.”
But when the pair arranged to meet, Van Dellen allegedly said: “Expect naughty things to happen.”
Subsequently, Van Dellen picked up the boy in his car and drove him to an isolated area. Then, according to Shroff, he placed his hand on the boy’s thigh.
Shroff said the boy complied with Van Dellen “because he did not know what would happen or what the defendant was capable of”.
On his arrest, Van Dellen, who admits the meeting but denies he planned any sexual contact, said the boy had asked him to bring condoms with him and had made the first advances towards him.
When police seized his computers, they discovered that Van Dellen had two Facebook accounts – one without a picture, which was used to contact the boy, and another that was used for family and friends.
Van Dellen is qualified not only as a barrister but also a doctor, serving as interim chief executive with the Welsh Ambulance Service in 2006 and deputy chief executive of Staffordshire Ambulance Service. He reportedly removed himself from the medical register in May 2010.
Having gone on to study law, Van Dellen was called to the Bar at Inner Temple in 2010, then completed pupillage, but did not apply for a full practising certificate after that, instead going on to further study at Cambridge University. It was during this time that the alleged grooming occurred.
When we put together our September story on Van Dellen’s recent lecturing work – which had previously not been disclosed – BPP Law School provided Legal Cheek with the following statement: “Dr Anton Van Dellen is not, and has never been an employee of BPP; in the past he has done some freelance work at the law school on a temporary basis but we no longer engage him.”
BPP said that data protection laws prevented it from responding to our question about whether or not it was aware of the court case against Van Dellen when it hired him. For the same reason, BPP declined to confirm the dates of the period when it engaged Van Dellen, stating: “Under data protection, we are not able to disclose personal information on current or previous personnel whom we engage; this also applies to any past or existing students or employees; without their prior consent.”