December 6 2013 Latest news:
Peter Walsh, Crime correspondent
Friday, October 4, 2013
A former BBC presenter accused of sexually assaulting a number of boys over a period spanning almost two decades has issued an apology over comments he made to the judge and prosecutor in the case, a court has heard.
Michael Souter, 60, of Low Bungay Road, Loddon, is on trial after denying 19 counts of historic child sex abuse relating to seven different boys aged between 11 and 16 which are said to have happened between 1979 and 1999.
He also denies nine counts of making and possessing indecent images of children.
Jurors at Norwich Crown Court were read a statement by Andrew Hill, defending, at the start of today’s proceedings in which Souter apologised for comments he had made on Thursday regarding Judge Mark Lucraft.
Mr Hill said: “Mike Souter makes it clear that he’s wrong to say the learned judge has any prior knowledge of witnesses or any statements or material relating to them.”
He went onto say that such comments made by his client which implied anything to the contrary were “formally withdrawn” by him.
Souter himself then issued an apology of his own to Andrew Shaw, prosecuting, from the witness box.
He said: “I would just like to say to Mr Shaw during the course of yesterday matters did get somewhat heated, I called into question his professional integrity. I apologise unreservedly for that and ask his forgiveness for that and I apologise to the court and Mr Shaw and ask that the comments be withdrawn.”
Mr Shaw, in cross examination, put it to Souter that one of the alleged victims had been plied with drink at his home before he was abused.
Souter said the boy was “never drunk at my house” before going onto insist that “what he’s alleging never happened”.
He said it was “astonishing” that those making these allegations could remember what happened and said “people remember what they want to” before adding “a lot of embellishment” takes place.
Souter told Mr Shaw he was sure that if one of the victims was abused at his home, as alleged, he would have “told someone”.
Mr Shaw said: “Do you say to this jury an allegation of child abuse can’t be true if it’s not reported immediately?
Souter replied: “No, not at all, I realise what goes on.”
When asked if the victim was making it up Souter replied “yes”.
The trial continues.