Former BBC man facing child sex charges apologises to judge over conspiracy smear claim

A former BBC presenter accused of child sex offences has been forced to apologise to a prosecutor and a judge after accusing them of being part of a conspiracy to smear him.

Ex-BBC Norfolk and former Radio Clyde broadcaster Michael Souter is standing trial after pleading not guilty to a series of historic sex attacks on boys.

He launched into a tirade against prosecutor Andrew Shaw and judge Mark Lucraft QC at Norwich Crown Court in which he questioned their integrity and suggested the judge had had previous contact with or knowledge of witnesses in the case.

Souter had previously accused prosecutors of intercepting emails between him and defence counsel and claimed Norfolk Police officers emailed indecent images to his computer in an attempt to manufacture evidence against him.

Today he told jurors he withdrew any suggestion that the judge and prosecutor had acted improperly.

His barrister, Andrew Hill, read a statement to the court saying: "Mr Souter makes it clear that he was wrong to say that the learned judge has any prior knowledge of witnesses or any statements or material relating to them.

"Such comments that were made which imply to the contrary are formally withdrawn."

Souter then addressed the court himself, saying: "I would just like to say to Mr Shaw that 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."

The 60-year-old, of Loddon, Norfolk, denies 19 sex offences, including indecent assault, indecency with a child and serious sexual offences, against seven boys aged between 11 and 16.

The allegations date from between 1979 and 1999.

Souter, who was also involved in the Scouts and a social services youth mentoring scheme, also denies a further nine counts of making and possessing indecent images of under-18s.

Prosecutors have described him as a "sexual deviant" who was obsessed with young boys in shorts and uniform.

Souter claims he is the victim of a conspiracy in which allegations against him were made up.

The trial continues. 

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