LiveLIVE updates: Billy Charlton found GUILTY of distributing an indecent image of a child following trial

William Bernard Charlton, 56, known as Billy Charlton, is on trial at Newcastle Crown Court this week.

Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 3:15 pm

Charlton, formerly of Seaham, now of of Sidmouth Road, Bensham, Gateshead is accused of one count of distributing an indecent image of a child on June 28, 2018.

The trial is expected to conclude on Wednesday.

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Billy Charlton arriving at Newcastle Crown Court.
Billy Charlton arriving at Newcastle Crown Court.
Billy Charlton arriving at Newcastle Crown Court.
Billy Charlton arriving at Newcastle Crown Court.

LIVE updates as Billy Charlton stands trial over indecent image

Last updated: Wednesday, 07 July, 2021, 17:02

Charges and verdict in full

Charlton, formerly of Seaham but now of Sidmouth Road, Gateshead, denied making an indecent photograph of a child and distributing an indecent photograph of a child.

The charge of making an indecent photograph of a child was withdrawn from the jury’s considerations but they found him guilty of distributing the image.

Charlton has already admitted possessing extreme pornography in relation to an image involving an adult engaging in sexual activity with an animal.

He has also pleaded guilty to another offence of “showing an act resulting or likely to result in serious injury”, again involving an adult, also on his phone.

Charlton will be sentenced on September 16 and has been granted bail in the meantime.

Sentencing adjourned until September

The sentencing has been adjourned until September 16.

Charlton has been granted bail until that date.

The jury has returned a verdict of GUILTY for the charge of distributing an indecent photograph of a child.

Jury sent out to deliberate verdict

She has given her last legal directions.

They must now decide whether he had looked at the video, she tells them.

If Charlton was told in his police interview the video showed a boy having sex with a donkey, why did he answer questions about that if he had only seen another video, she has posed?

The defence case is that no, he did not see the image and if they agree with that, he is not guilty.

She has asked them to reach a verdict each one of them are agreed on and if they cannot, she will give them further directions.

They jury have now left court to begin their deliberations.

Charlton claims he has been ‘branded a paedophile over a silly video'

Her Honour Judge Mallett continues to recap the evidence.

Charlton said he didn’t remember sending it but said “if I sent it I sent it” and described the act as “sick, but that’s it right?”

He said he would get messages from 40 or 50 people and would send some on.

He said he had “never ever seen” the clip when asked.

He remembered one where the viewer didn’t see anything of a sexual nature, but a boy and an animal after it panned up from the floor.

He said he had no recollection of dates, said the video was “innuendo” and said the footage he had seen was corrupt.

Charlton told the court didn’t watch every video he was sent and was asked about if he was curious about what the video showed, but he said he did not watch it.

He told the court he had been “branded a paedophile because of a silly video” and had no cause to think the clip sent to him would show anything indecent.

Her Honour Judge Mallett has moved onto the evidence.

She said whether he saw the video or not is where her summing up hinges.

She has reminded them he has pleaded guilty to two other charges, but they should not find him guilty of this last offence based on that.

She has also reminded them of what the video contained, because in interview he discussed that in his police interview.

The first frame does not show any indecent image and that is what would have appeared in the thumbnail of the Whatsapp message.

Indecency starts at five seconds and lasts around eight more.

She mentions the time he spent replying to messages on that day the video was received and sent and asks do that think that gave him a chance to look at the video.

Saying a message is funny, or others had seen it, is not a defence, she says.

Just because it is being shared doesn’t change that it was a video of a boy having sex with an animal.

It is rightly a criminal offence to share it, and the motivation for doing so is not a defence.

Any feelings of sympathy for the child or defendant should be put to one side as they make their decision, she says.

The judge has also touched on the delays in the case.

It was a year after sending the message before he was arrested and another year after that the case came to trial.

She said they could view that puts Charlton at a disadvantage in recalling information.

The Judge has started by taking about the written legal directions.

The defendant has to make them sure he did not see the footage, did not believed it to be indecent and had no cause it to think it would be.

They have been given a list of three questions to help them reach their decision.

The first is has the defendant proved he did not see the video. If no, he is guilty, if yes, then they are to move to question two.

The second is has the defendant proved he did not know the video was indecent. If no, he is guilty, if yes, then they are to look at the third question.

That asks, has the defendant proved he did not have any cause to suspect the video was indecent.

If yes, then he is guilty, if no then he is not guilty.

Final stage of the trial

Her Honour Judge Mallett has welcomed the jury back into court and said this is now the last stage of the trial.

She will give them legal directions as they prepare to deliberate on this remaining charge.

That it was an indecent image and was sent on to others is not in dispute, she says.

She has given them advice on how they should consider the evidence and said it is their view which counts.

Judge is set to sum up the case this morning

The hearing is set to resume on Wednesday at 10.30am.

Prosecution and defence solicitors concluded their cases on Tuesday

Prosecutors claim William Charlton forwarded the illegal image, that had been sent to him by someone else, to 47 people in a distribution group over the messaging app on his mobile phone.

The 56-year-old claims he did not view the 18 second video, which featured a boy aged between 10-14 with the animal, before he forwarded it on and had no reason to suspect its contents were illegal.

The case centres around a WhatsApp message containing the image which was forwarded from Charlton’s phone to a distribution list.

Charlton must prove to the court he did not see the image he forwarded on, the jury was told on Monday.

Prosecuting Mr West told the jury it has been agreed that the file was indecent and that it had been forwarded but Charlton’s case is that he was not aware of what it had contained.

Charlton is accused of one count distributing an indecent image of a child on June 28, 2018.

Her Honour Judge Mallett told the jury yesterday they had been discharged from reaching a verdict on count one, which relates to the downloading of the video.

The jury were told on Monday that Charlton had admitted two further charges of possession of extreme pornography in June 2019.

One image depicted a person in sexual activity with an animal and the other an act ‘likely to result in serious injury’.

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