A headmaster accused of indecently assaulting a 12-year-old schoolgirl by pinching her bottom walked free from court yesterday. The 58-year-old burst into tears after being acquitted, then ran to hug and thank his wife in the public gallery. Magistrate Hugh Sinclair said the girl's evidence was unreliable. 'Some people appear to think no smoke without fire. But it's wrong in human nature to make this conclusion,' said Mr Sinclair, who added he could not be sure if the girl's bottom had been pinched. Testifying on screen earlier, the girl broke down in tears. She could not recall the date on which the alleged assault took place inside the school's general office. She was also confused over which part of her backside had been allegedly touched. Mr Sinclair said the girl's tears did not add weight to her account, and that her evident stress could have been caused by her reluctance to recall the alleged incident or simply fear of being caught telling lies. Eastern Court heard that the Tai Po primary school headmaster had accused the girl of failing to sweep the playground between May 29 and June 15 last year. He also complained she talked back to him. When they met again in the school office that morning, the girl alleged he pinched and patted her bottom. In his 45-minute judgment, Mr Sinclair said it was more likely to have been a confrontation between the two over the sweeping incident. But there was no indication the headmaster had any sexual motives. He said that even if the girl had been telling the truth, the teacher probably pinched her as a punishment. The headmaster admitted he had been angry with the girl for being impolite. Mr Sinclair said: 'In no way am I playing down the effect of tweaking the bottom of a young lady. It is a foolish thing to do. Corporal punishment is not allowed by law. 'However, we should consider the surrounding environment [when deciding on the case].' After being acquitted, the headmaster said: 'The case will not affect my affection for teaching.' The school's supervisor said a decision on allowing him to resume work would be made later. It was unclear whether he would be paid for his suspension since February.