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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 June 2006, 03:55 GMT 04:55 UK
Glitter begins sex abuse appeal
Gary Glitter arrives at his one-day appeal hearing
Glitter protested his innocence to waiting reporters
British pop star Gary Glitter has begun an appeal against his conviction for abusing underage girls in Vietnam.

Glitter, 62, shouted "I'm innocent" to waiting journalists as he arrived for the one-day hearing at the People's Supreme Court in Ho Chi Minh City.

In March, the former glam-rock idol was convicted of molesting two girls, aged 11 and 12, and jailed for three years.

Glitter, real name Paul Gadd, has admitted letting a girl into his bed but denies ever abusing underage girls.

His lawyer Le Tanh Kinh told AFP earlier this week that his client would continue to maintain his innocence.

GLITTER IN COURT
November 1999: Glitter admits possessing 4,000 photos of children being abused. Sentenced to four months in UK prison for 54 offences of downloading porn from the internet and placed on sex offenders register
April 2002: Questioned by Cambodian police after moving to the country. Government minister leads campaign to deport him as a "preventative measure"
December 2002: UK Foreign Office confirms Glitter has been detained in Cambodia over suspected sex offences. Deported but no specific reason is given and he later returns pending an appeal
March 2006: Jailed in Vietnam over child sex offences. Sentencing judge says: "His lewd acts have compromised the dignity of the Vietnamese people, law and common sense."

"Of course we expect that Glitter's sentence will be reduced... so that he can be expelled from Vietnam," he said.

"I have strategies for this trial."

When asked by waiting reporters what he would do if he was released on Thursday, Glitter said he would "have a beer".

The hearing will be held behind closed doors.

If his appeal fails, Glitter may be considered for release after serving a third of his jail term, which includes the four months he was held in custody before his conviction.

He had been in custody since 19 November when he was arrested in Ho Chi Minh City as he was about to board a flight out of Vietnam.

During March's two-day trial, he was said to have committed a series of "lewd" acts while the girls were at his beach house in Vung Tau.

Sentencing Glitter, Judge Hoang Thanh Tung said: "His lewd acts have compromised the dignity of the Vietnamese people, law and common sense, and therefore it is necessary to punish him."

The judge later told reporters he believed Glitter understood he had "a sickness".

The singer - who stood accused of kissing, fondling and engaging in other sexual acts with the girls - last year evaded more serious charges of child rape, which carry a maximum penalty of death by firing squad.

In a BBC interview from prison last month, his first since he was convicted, Glitter denied ever abusing underage girls and blamed the UK media for his downfall.

He admitted letting a girl into his bed but said he knew "the line to cross".


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See Gary Glitter arriving at the one-day hearing



SEE ALSO
Profile: Gary Glitter
03 Mar 06 |  UK
Gary Glitter denies abusing girls
02 May 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Glitter to appeal over sentence
16 Mar 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Glitter jailed for abusing girls
03 Mar 06 |  Asia-Pacific



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