A former Sydney swimming instructor was “dumbfounded” by allegations he inappropriately touched one of his young students, a court has heard.
Kyle James Henk Daniels is standing trial charged with 21 offences relating to allegedly sexually touching nine young girls who he taught at the Mosman Swim Centre on Sydney’s lower North Shore between 2018 and 2019.
He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Mr Daniels, 23, returned to the witness box during his trial – which began in August – on Monday, where Crown prosecutor Tony McCarthy questioned his memory of one of the alleged incidents.
The Crown alleges Mr Daniels had a sexual interest in young girls and acted on that by allegedly touching the children inappropriately.
Mr Daniels denies he knowingly or intentionally touched the girls in a sexual or indecent manner.
The court heard in August 2018 Mr Daniels was informed by management a complaint had been made by a parent who alleged their child had told them Mr Daniels had put his forearm between her legs.
Mr McCarthy said Mr Daniels had signed a document in August 2018 explaining he understood he’d been counselled and informed about the alleged touching and how to rectify his teachings moving forward.
On Monday, the court heard Mr Daniels signed the document instructing him to “be more aware” of how he held the children during the swimming lessons and adjust his holding methods.
Mr Daniels said he had been told by management that the parent who made the complaint believed the inappropriate touching was “accidental” but he wasn’t sure what they were referring to.
“I was just unsure to where it could have come from, I was a bit dumbfounded,” he said.
“I had no memory of anything inappropriate happening, I don’t know where it could have come from.”
Mr Daniels said he was told by management that he needed to avoid placing his hands near the groin or chest and to keep his hands out of the water when teaching a correction to a student’s form.
He told the court he was not aware of ever holding his hands in those areas.
“I believe I was more aware of where my hands were and if they were in any precarious situation then I would adjust them to not be close to any of the areas we discussed but at the time they were not so there was no reason to adjust them,” Mr Daniels said.
“I knew I’d done nothing but I was not conscious of where my hands were.
“They weren’t close to those areas so there was no need to adjust my holds.
“A few weeks later I was definitely more aware of where my hands were but I didn’t change my teaching.”
Mr Daniels said despite the warning to change his holding methods, it was “an impossible task for a swim instructor” to not hold their hands under water while teaching the children.
Mr Daniels was stood down from his role in February 2019.
The trial at Sydney’s Downing Centre is expected to run from between six to eight weeks.