Page last updated at 16:13 GMT, Friday, 12 September 2008 17:13 UK

Meehan porn case acquittal urged

Stepfather Craig Meehan
Craig Meehan denies any wrongdoing

A judge has been urged to acquit the ex-partner of Shannon Matthews' mother on the basis it was impossible to prove he had downloaded child pornography.

Defence solicitor David Orbaum said the charges against Craig Meehan were "truly unusual and extremely bizarre".

Mr Meehan, 22, denies downloading 136 indecent images on a computer at the home he shared with Karen Matthews in Dewsbury Moor, West Yorkshire.

District judge Jonathan Bennett will give his verdict on Tuesday.

In his closing speech at Dewsbury Magistrates' Court, Mr Orbaum told the judge that the evidence against Mr Meehan was "not substantial" and was "inconclusive".

He said there was no proof his client had viewed the images, which were found on the computer and Mr Meehan's mobile telephone.

"The case as a whole simply is not proved and the defendant should be acquitted," Mr Orbaum said.

Yes, there is evidence of child pornography on his computer but that is as far as it goes
Defence solicitor David Orbaum

The solicitor told the court how the 22-year-old's computer was seized in February from the Moorside Road home he shared with Ms Matthews, 32, by police trying to find clues about Shannon's disappearance.

Mr Orbaum said that the "open-house" policy in the home meant other people had the opportunity to use the computer for "illegal means".

He told the court: "I would submit that the investigation of his computer that has taken place has not resulted in a situation where you have imagery which you can say this defendant, as opposed to anyone else, looked at, this defendant, as opposed to anyone else, deliberately downloaded and viewed.

"Yes, there is evidence of child pornography on his computer but that is as far as it goes."

He added that it also could not be proved that some of the images were not already on the second-hand computer when Mr Meehan bought it in September 2006.

Mr Meehan denies 12 charges of possessing indecent images of children.

Child porn 'risk to relationship'
11 Sep 08 |  Bradford
Meehan 'unaware of child images'
09 Sep 08 |  Bradford
Meehan denies child porn charges
08 Sep 08 |  Bradford

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