Sunderland man denies harassment of MP Julie Elliott at court hearing

Len Lowther leaves Leeds Magistrates' Court.
Len Lowther leaves Leeds Magistrates' Court.

A Sunderland man has denied a charge of harassing his local member of parliament by repeatedly contacting her on social media.

Leonard Lowther, 64, appeared before a district judge at Leeds Magistrates’ Court this morning charged with the harassment of Julie Elliott, MP for Sunderland Central.

Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott.

Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott.

It is alleged he repeatedly published a "menacing message" on social media between February 5 and October 3 last year and repeatedly contacted Mrs Elliott on social media claiming she had "perverted the course of justice".

Mr Lowther, of Marine Walk, confirmed his name, age, address, before pleading not guilty to the charge.

A prosecutor from the North East, who was due to attend, was not present at this morning’s hearing.

Prosecutor, Maggie Cavanagh, asked for a three-week adjournment of the case for materials to be handed to the defence.

The case was adjourned by district judge David Kitson to May 21.

He told Mr Lowther if he entered a not guilty plea today, and after seeing the prosecution’s case was to change his plea, he would still be given full credit.

Speaking ahead of the hearing, Ms Elliott, who has been a Labour MP for one or the city’s constituencies since 2010, has said it would be inappropriate to comment at this stage.