April 2009

Councillor jailed for indecent images of children

David Charles, a councillor in the St Andrew’s ward in Hornchurch, was yesterday sentenced to a six month suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to 16 counts of possessing pornographic images of youngsters. He was also ordered to pay court costs of £500 and remain on the sex offenders list for 7 years.

David Charles was elected as Conservative councillor in 2006 but resigned from the group following his arrest at home by officers from the Havering child abuse investigation team in June 2006. Since then he has been an independent councillor. 

Although pleading innocent to the charges for two-and-a-half years, he recently changed his plea to guilty.

Cllr Clarence Barrett, Leader of the Residents’ Group, said: “This matter has dragged on for nearly three years and Mr Charles has denied the charges for most of that time. I t is an absolute disgrace that he then did not resign when he recently changed his plea to guilty.

These odious and revolting offences are simply not acceptable in our society, and to have an elected representative guilty of such charges is reprehensible.

As the sentence was in excess of three months (suspended or not), and subject to appeal against sentence, at least he is likely to be disqualified from office and the people of St Andrews can move forward and have the opportunity to elect a new representative