RECAP updates from court from second day of Billy Charlton's indecent image trial at Newcastle Crown Court

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

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 3:51 pm

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

The trial is listed for three days.

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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.

LIVE updates from second day of Billy Charlton indecent image trial

Last updated: Tuesday, 06 July, 2021, 15:47

The jury are back in court and Her Honour Judge Mallett has told them they have been discharged from reaching a verdict on count one, which relates to the downloading of the video.

“Common sense would say you would look at it before sharing it"

Ian West, prosecuting, has begun his closing speech.

He says their real focus should be on whether he had seen the video.

He has pointed out a number of details from the police interview with Charlton, including that he passes on things he has seen and looked at which he thinks his friends will find funny or entertaining.

Common sense would say you would look at it before sharing it, he says.

He says Charlton says the video was “twisted” and told the officers what it had shown.

Mr West has said today, he has tried to “explain away” that by changing his story by saying he saw another video which started the same way, looking at the floor.

“It’s clear, isn’t it when he admitted to your this morning that he saw a video looking at the floor and then a boy and a donkey, it was the same video,” he said.

Mr West says Charlton said “you don’t see anything” - how would he know if he hadn’t seen it, he says.

Mr West says in the interview he knew what he was being asked about and the claim he hadn’t seen the clip was a “late invention after painting himself into a corner.”

The prosecutor has said the law prevents distribution, not the motivation behind it.

Arrested a year after forwarding message

Christopher Rose, defending, is now making his closing speech.

He asks the jury to put themselves in the defendant’s position.

He is getting hundreds of messages every day, sends one on, doesn’t think about it, because it’s from someone he knows to others he knows.

A year later he is arrested.

“Do you think you would give a credible, clear, accurate, unimpeachable” response about sending it on?

It’s now another year on, talking about a day in June and about what he had been doing that day.

No suggestion that Charlton is a paedophile

He says Mr West rightly ended his speech by saying no one is suggesting Charlton is a paedophile or attracted to children.

He says this case comes down to whether they are persuaded “more likely than not” he did not see the footage he sent on.

If they find Charlton has not proved that to them, then the defence fails.

He says the expert evidence does not help on whether it was viewed, nor does the time lag between it being received and sent on.

He says Charlton said he was confused and at cross purposes about the clips when being interviewed.

He says the defendant is not a man who “sits calmly and collectively to listen to what’s been said to focus on a reply” but “latches on to what he thinks he is being asked about.”

He says he was explaining about a different, similar image than the one he is being accused of.

Defence concludes summing up

Mr Rose finished his speech by saying: “You might like Mr Charlton, you might not, you might have sympathy for him, you might not.

“What this case comes down to is whether you think it’s more likely or not he saw that image, taking the case at its height from the crown.

“The evidence is quite clear, that he did not see that footage when he passed the message on and did so unwittingly.

“Your verdict arising from count two should be not guilty.”

Case finished for today

The jury has now been released for the day, with the judge to give her legal directions to them tomorrow, when the case resumes at 10.30am.

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