Children’s entertainer told he faces jail over child abuse images

Jason Packer, who was told by a judge he had an 'unhealthy interest' in extreme pornography
Jason Packer, who was told by a judge he had an 'unhealthy interest' in extreme pornography
Louis Makai. Picture: Sussex Police

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  • Judge said defendant was ‘beyond borders of reality’ in abuse images plant claim
  • Recorder Frank Abbott praised The News’ coverage of the case but criticised Jason Packer’s ‘abuse of privileges’ in trial
  • Jury found him guilty of 17 out of 18 counts with final charge left on file
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CHILDREN’S entertainer Jason Packer has been criticised by a judge and warned he faces jail over having indecent images of children.

Packer, 45, was yesterday convicted of four counts of possessing extreme pornography and 13 counts of possessing indecent images of children after a six-day trial at Portsmouth Crown Court.

You’ve had an opportunity for everything in this case to be examined in detail and I’m afraid the jury have not believed you

Recorder Frank Abbott

During the trial Packer, a former Justice and Anti-Corruption Party candidate, said police planted images on his computer and four USB sticks after his February 11 arrest at his home last year.

When he took the stand he told jurors former Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock’s agents had put the images on his computer after he uploaded the Pascoe report which was critical of the MP.

After the verdict the judge, Recorder Frank Abbott, dismissed Packer’s claims and said that ‘in this case you’ve made allegations against him, not only unfounded and unsupported, but utterly and totally incredible’.

Addressing barrister Philip Romans, he said: ‘It seems that your client is beyond any borders of reality.’

And before adjourning the case for sentence he told Packer: ‘Your case was not capable, in my view, of belief.

He said Packer had an ‘unhealthy interest’ in extreme pornography.

He added: ‘You’ve had an opportunity for everything in this case to be examined in detail and I’m afraid the jury have not believed you.’

Mr Abbott said the likeliest outcome of a sentence would see Packer jailed immediately.

He added: ‘You haven’t pleaded guilty when it was obvious you did have control and custody of these images, you virtually admitted in your interview that you had downloaded them.’

Earlier in the trial Detective Sergeant Tim Plummer, the senior investigating officer, told prosecutor Philip Meredith an IP address – later linked to Packer – was first identified by intelligence on January 2.

He said Hampshire Constabulary applied to the internet service provider on January 13 for details of the account holder and received those on January 17 and then a warrant was sought.

He said police executed five warrants, including Packer’s, on February 11 as part of the Internet Watch Foundation’s day of action.

Packer had claimed he was targeted after uploading the report by Nigel Pascoe QC into allegations about Mr Hancock’s behaviour with a constituent. He put the file, named ‘Explosive Hidden Hancock File’, on file-sharing software where the images were found.

Mr Hancock later apologised for forging an inappropriate friendship with a female constituent, who cannot be named. He never faced a criminal prosecution.

When contacted by The News about the trial Mr Hancock said: ‘It’s outrageous to suggest I had anything to do with it or the police did.

‘I wouldn’t have the first idea how to do it.’

The jury were forced to watch the images, some of them movies, because Packer denied the charges.

Yesterday a former JAC party member, who asked not to be named, said he was disgusted by Packer’s actions.

‘It’s destroyed the party,’ he added.

Outside the court Det Sgt Plummer told of the damage child images have on society.

He said: ‘Each indecent image of a child shows a victim being abused somewhere in the world.

‘The demand for these images fuels child abuse throughout the world and Hampshire Constabulary places prevention of child sexual exploitation as a force priority.

‘Its specialised team will pro-actively investigate the people trading on abuse.’

Packer, of Balliol Road, Buckland, must sign the sex offenders’ register. He was given bail but must live at his home.

Mr Abbott added: ‘I’m going to give him bail in the meantime bearing in mind his previous good character, even though I’m certainly going to send him to prison.’

Jurors took two hours and 33 minutes to convict Packer but did not reach a verdict on one of the counts of extreme pornography.

The judge ordered it to lie on the file.

‘You abused free speech,
trial and representation’

THE judge heavily criticised Jason Packer, telling him he had ‘abused the privileges’ afforded to him in the trial.

Recorder Frank Abbott said: ‘Now in my view during this case you’ve had three major privileges.

‘The first is that you’ve had a jury trial.

‘So you’ve had a jury trial and you’ve had it in my view extremely fairly and you’ve been judged by 12 of your own fellow citizens.

‘The jury trial is probably one of the last real bastions of personal liberty in this country.

‘The second thing is you’ve been represented by a competent and experienced barrister who has conducted this case to the limit of his ability on your behalf.

‘That barrister has been paid by the taxpayer to represent you, they have his fees, which undoubtedly have been made more modest than the public generally understand.

‘The third privilege is you live in a country which allows you to have an extraordinary level, a civilised level, of free speech and that has enabled you in the course of this trial to put a defence which has involved accusing, making allegations, against a well-known public figure.

‘I’ve no doubt that Mr Hancock is used to criticism, justified or unjustified, but it seems to me that in this case you’ve made allegations against him not only unfounded and unsupported but utterly and totally incredible.

‘No right-minded person would believe that agents of Mr Hancock had put the abuse images on your PC because simply it wasn’t something, in my view, that is possible.

‘You’ve done that, you’ve been entitled to do it as you’ve had a fair trial.’

He added: ‘The result of it is that the press has been interested in your case.

‘The reporting of this case has been accurate and proper but it results in that [Mr Abbott lifted a copy of The News showing its front page] - the headline “Hancock’s agents put abuse images on to my PC”.

‘That’s what the public see.

‘It seems to me that in itself is something that follows from your abuse of the privileges to which I’ve referred to.’