Jury out in trial of children’s entertainer accused of having child abuse images

Jason Packer
Jason Packer
James Laurie. Picture: Hampshire Constabulary

Concern for Portsmouth teenager who has been missing for two weeks

JURORS in the trial of a children’s entertainer accused of possessing more than 500 indecent images of children have retired to consider their verdict.

The nine men and three women have sat through three days of evidence at the trial of Buckland man Jason Packer.

During the final day of the hearing, at Portsmouth Crown Court, prosecutor Jeffrey Lamb described the 47-year-old as a ‘man obsessed’ with child pornography and extreme pornography.

Previously, Packer had told jurors the images uncovered on his laptop had been part of his own research into appealing a previous conviction in 2015 relating to similar offences.

But summing up, Mr Lamb said this defence ‘was a lie’, describing it as a ‘red herring’ designed to throw the jury off his true intention.

Mr Lamb told jurors: ‘He says that he is obsessed with this “miscarriage of justice”.

‘We say, as a prosecution, that he is obsessed with child pornography and extreme pornography.’

Mr Lamb told the court an IT expert had uncovered 534 indecent images on Packer’s computer which had been automatically stored in an area ‘not easily accessible’ without forensic equipment after the defendant visited various pornographic websites.

Mr Lamb said: ‘This is the residue of Mr Packer’s constant and continued researching. It’s the bloodstains following a knife attack, it’s the smoking gun following a fatal shooting.’

He added: ‘This is a man who was convicted of 17 counts of possession of child pornography and extreme pornography.

‘He is obsessed with child pornography and extreme pornography so much so that even when he is waiting to be sentenced for these crimes that for over 29 days, day after day, hour after hour he is searching through hundreds, possibly thousands, of websites for child pornography.’

However, Packer’s defence counsel Robert Bryan hit back, urging the jurors to ‘not be swayed by emotion’ and to make their decision based on the evidence presented to them.

Speaking in court, he urged the jury to set aside any prejudices they might have of Packers’ previous conviction.

Mr Bryan added his client was not ‘trawling’ the web for indecent images but that he was doing his best to prove his innocence from his previous conviction – to which he served six months in jail.

The barrister said Packer had gone so far as to send a letter to the court and Crown Prosecution Service, before his sentencing in 2015, outlining his intention to appeal his conviction.

And that as part of this research, Mr Bryan said Packer had been scrolling through hundreds of images attempting to trace the ones used in that court case, before saving the web URLs in a file named ‘Jason legal’.

Mr Bryan said Packer spent very little time on the images, at one point scrolling through 49 pages – with hundreds of small thumbnail-sized images – in just 21 minutes.

‘He searches through hundreds of images of thumbnails but doesn’t click on a single one of them,’ Mr Bryan said. ‘That’s very odd.

‘The crown said to you he was “obsessed”. How many times did Mr Lamb say to you that Mr Packer was obsessed with watching this material?

‘You see members of the jury it simply doesn’t make sense with the evidence available.

‘He may well be misguided but that doesn’t make it illegal does it.’

Packer, of Balliol Road, Buckland, denies three counts of making indecent images and one of possession of extreme pornographic images.

(Proceeding)