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Saturday, November 13, 1999 Published at 01:57 GMT


Anger at Glitter sentence

Gary Glitter arrives at court to be sentenced

Child care campaigners have criticised Gary Glitter's four month jail sentence for downloading child porn from the Internet as too lenient.

Glitter was jailed just hours after being acquitted of having underage sex with a teenage fan.

The BBC's Stephen Cape: "He'll now be on the sex offenders register"
But controversy surrounds the trial because the woman who made the allegations had been paid by a national newspaper for her story.

The Lord Chancellor has demanded a full report on the payments from the trial judge.

And the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) is to investigate whether the News of the World breached the industry's code of practice.

Library of porn

Glitter, under his real name of Paul Gadd, was acquitted at Bristol Crown Court of eight counts of sexually assaulting the woman when she was a teenage fan nearly 20 years ago.

Hours later, the 55-year-old was jailed for four months after admitting to a collection of 4,000 hardcore photographs of children being abused.

Glitter admitted 54 offences of downloading porn from the Internet between 3 January 1997 and 18 November 1997.

[ image: Glitter as glam-rock star]
Glitter as glam-rock star
The judge, Mr Justice Butterfield, described the pictures, showing children apparently as young as three, as "filthy and revolting" and of the "worst possible type".

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) criticised the sentence, which could see Glitter released in two months.

Mike Taylor, director of child care at the charity, said: "It sends a message that dealing in child pornography is a convictable offence ... but is not taken too seriously by our courts".

Glen Smyth of the Metropolitan Police Federation said: "It seems you get more for animal cruelty than you do for crimes against kids".

'Win bonus' controversy

The jury, which cleared Glitter of underage sex, was told that the woman he was alleged to have had a relationship with had taken £10,000 from the News of the World in exchange for her story.

The woman, now aged 34 and married with three children, would receive an extra £25,000 if the star was convicted, the court heard.

The Lord Chancellor has demanded a full report from Justice Butterfield into the payments.

Joshua Rozenberg: "Witnesses might exaggerate the evidence to make it more valuable...or hold something back"
The judge has branded the pay-out "highly reprehensible". He said: "It is not illegal but it is to be greatly deprecated."

The Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, said there was a real risk of such payments leading to a miscarriage of justice.

He said witnesses may either exaggerate their evidence to make it more newsworthy, or withhold relevant evidence from the court and make it available as an exclusive to a newspaper.

PCC worries

PCC chairman Lord Wakeham said the case "worried" him and he would investigate.

The PCC's Lord Wakeham: "The evidence up to now is that self-regulation is working properly"
He said he would check whether the payment was in the public interest, whether it influenced the evidence of any witness, and whether it was disclosed to the court.

"If it does seriously affect justice than I would be in favour of tightening up the law," he said.

[ image: Clifford:
Clifford: "That money has helped her, but it didn't make her lie"
The News of the World denied it had breached the PCC code.

It said there had been no criminal proceedings when it entered into an agreement with the woman and could not have foreseen the "subsequent events".

Publicist Max Clifford, who struck the newspaper deal, told BBC Two's Newsnight programme that the woman came to him to make her story public, because she "did not trust the police".

The police had taken no action after she told her story on two previous occasions, he said.

He added that his client was "very happy" that her story was made public, despite the implications which the acquittal may have had for her reputation.

"That money has helped her, but it didn't make her lie," he said.

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