December 6 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
A close friend of a former BBC Radio Norfolk presenter accused of sexually assaulting boys told a jury how he had never seen him act in any sexually inappropriate way.
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.
Giving evidence at Norwich Crown Court, insurance broker Alan Cross, told a jury how he had known Souter for 30 years and first met Souter through Scouts.
He said that Souter helped set up a Venture Scout group and said: “Mike was quite influential, being in the media and it opened a number of doors to us.”
He said they went on trips and outings and said that he understood Souter to be bisexual.
Asked by Souter’s defence counsel if he had ever behaved in a sexual way to him he replied: “Absolutely not.”
He also said that Souter had never spoke to him about any inappropriate sexual matters.
He said that Souter was generous and he had considered him of being as good character.
In cross-examination Andrew Shaw, prosecuting, showed him some of the images alleged to have been found on Souter’s computer and asked if it would concern him if he was aware of them, to which he replied: “It would have concerned me.”
Another character witness spoke about Souter’s work helping with publicity for the Norwich Theatre Royal appeal. Carol Hardman said that Souter had helped her late husband John with the appeal and decribed him as a “good and helpful” friend.
The jury also heard statements read from other character witnesses about the work Souter did as a PR for the Royal Navy reservists.
The trial continues.