A big welcome by reporters in the court
Gary Glitter, who is charged with “committing obscene acts with children”, arrived at the Ba Ria - Vung Tau Provincial People’s Court in a dark green police van. It can be said that there has never been such a trial in Viet Nam so far.
The trial drew the attendance of over 100 foreign reporters, photographers and cameramen from news agencies such as BBC, Reuter, Sky New Television, The Sun.
He was expected to enter the court by the main driveway where photographers and cameramen were awaiting. However, he disappointed them as he was taken inside through a small door. The reporters pushed towards him. He appeared in a pullover, jean, a black baseball cap.
|Foreign reporters were waiting outside the court|
The Sky News Television of Britain spent US$7,000 leasing a line of the international telecommunications center section II in order to broadcast the trial live. The other agencies were well-equipped, too.
When hearing that Gary was led to the first-floor courtroom, more than ten reporters of different agencies lined up from the foot of the stairs to the first floor to wait for Gary. Two more lines of foreign reporters stood in the staircase leading to the court.
The Director of Ba Ria – Vung Tau Department of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Ngoc Hung invited the reporters into the courthouse compound to photograph and question the accused rocker musician.
Glitter’s lawyer Le Thanh Kinh was present at the court at 7.30 am and immediately surrounded by scores of reporters but he refused to give any interview and quickly walked up to the first floor.
When the representative of the prosecution office and members of the panel of adjudicators arrived, reporters and cameramen took photos and filmed. The atmosphere in the court was reported live by a BBC correspondent to his audience in Britain.
As planned, the representative of the prosecution office read the charge in English and Vietnamese and the adjudicators began questioning defendant Gary Glitter.
As the trial was closed to the public, a large force of police was assigned to prevent people from entering the courtroom. Media were denied access or recording the proceedings. Hundreds of photographers and cameramen were standing outside, waiting to take photos of Gary Glitter.
The black-clad rock star faced a prison sentence
Gary in his pullover, jean and black baseball cap in the court
The court found that Glitter, real name Paul Gadd, had molested the girls, aged 11 and 12, at his home in the resort town of Vung Tau, southern Viet Nam.
In the trial, Gary repeatedly denied the charge and insisted he was teaching the girls English at his home and because the girls were afraid of ghost, he slept with them. However, the girls testified that the rocker had obscene acts with them.
The prosecutor of Ba Ria – Vung Tau People’s Procuracy accused Gary of committing child molestation according to Article 116 of the Vietnamese Penal Code. Moreover, he will be expelled from Viet Nam after serving the sentence.
His lawyer Le Thanh Kinh said there was not enough evidence to prosecute his client and the charge was only based on the testimony of the girls and asked the judge for his verdict of not guilty. However, his plea was turned down because police said they had proof of Gary Glitter’s crimes. The jury passed the verdict on March 3 at 10 AM. Convicted of child molestation, he was sentenced to three years in jail.
Some more information about Gary Glitter.
|Gary Glitter, whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd, achieved fame in 1970s with hits such as “I’m the Leader of the Gang (I Am),” “Do you Wanna Touch” and “Rock and Roll”.|
The 55-year-old singer had denied four counts of indecently assaulting a girl in the early 1980s when she was under 16.
He also denied four charges of serious sexual assault against the same girl, who is now 34 and married with children.
In 1997 a computer technician fixing Gary Glitter’s computer found indecent images of young children on his hard drive and informed police. Thus, he was arrested on child pornography charges in England. The conviction ended his career.
He is on the sex offenders’ register in the UK under his real name and will have to notify the police of his address wherever he moves in the country for seven years.
After serving two months of his sentence, he appealed to the media to respect his privacy before disappearing first to Cuba.
In April, 2002 he has been living in Phnom Penh for seven months. Cambodia’s Minister of Women’s Affairs Mu Sochua said she wanted Glitter deported as soon as possible.
Hounded out by child rights campaigners, he headed to neighbouring Viet Nam and settled down in a beachfront villa in Vung Tau.
Update November 23/2005: Glitter in Vietnamese police custody being questioned on allegations of sexual relations with underage girls.( Source: Reuter)