[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Thursday, 2 March 2006, 11:11 GMT
Gary Glitter abuse trial begins
Gary Glitter
Gary Glitter has been in a Vietnamese prison since November
Former rock star Gary Glitter has told a Vietnam court on the first day of his trial he did not commit obscene acts with two girls, his lawyer has said.

Glitter, real name Paul Gadd, faces up to seven years in jail if found guilty but told reporters as he arrived at court that he was innocent.

Prosecutors say the 61-year-old molested two girls, aged 11 and 12, at his Vietnam home.

The trial is initially behind closed doors as it involves minors.

He is alleged to have fondled and kissed the girls as well as engaged in other physical acts at a beach house in the resort town of Vung Tau, southern Vietnam.

I'm afraid there will be other cases like this one
Nguyen Thi Bich Lien
CD shop owner, Vung Tau

A verdict is expected to be given on Friday.

Glitter shot to stardom in the 1970s with hits such as Rock and Roll (Part 2) and Leader Of the Gang - a No 1 from 1973.

With his flamboyant stage persona and over-the-top costumes, Glitter continued touring for most of the 1980s and 1990s.

Denials

The former star has repeatedly professed his innocence, claiming he was teaching the girls English.

His lawyer, Le Thanh Kinh, said Glitter and the two alleged victims had been questioned in court.

"He denies all charges," the lawyer said as he walked out of the courthouse during a break.

As Glitter was escorted out of the court for a lunch break, reporters asked him if the girls were lying and whether he had pleaded innocent.

He nodded in response to both questions.

Earlier, the former glam rocker, looking gaunt and wearing a black T-shirt and black cap, was met by a crowd of photographers and reporters as he arrived at the Ba Ria Vung Tau courthouse.

He has been in police custody at a jail near Vung Tau since 19 November when he was arrested in Ho Chi Minh City about to board a flight out of the country.

Compensation

During the criminal investigation, police had considered whether to charge him with child rape, which carries a maximum penalty of death, but said prosecutors did not find sufficient evidence.

In December, Glitter's lawyer made compensatory payments to the families of the girls, who have appealed to the courts for clemency for Glitter.

Glitter was convicted of possessing child pornography in Britain in 1999 and served half of a four-month jail sentence.

He later went to Cambodia, which permanently expelled him in 2002.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See Gary Glitter arriving at court




SEE ALSO:
Glitter charged with obscene acts
06 Jan 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Glitter police 'drop rape charge'
26 Dec 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Glitter 'admits to girl at house'
08 Dec 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Four month detention for Glitter
25 Nov 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Glitter 'denies abuse charges'
22 Nov 05 |  Asia-Pacific



PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific