General Election 2019: Candidate in Portsmouth South seat has conviction for distributing indecent image of a child
AN MP candidate standing for the Justice and Anti-Corruption Party in Portsmouth has a conviction for distributing an indecent image of a child.
Steven George, who says he was a victim of Jimmy Savile, tried to appeal against the conviction and sentence at the Court of Appeal but lost last year.
The 67-year-old’s nomination to stand in Portsmouth South was seconded by his carer Jason Packer - a man jailed for a year for having indecent images of children.
Mr Packer was jailed in 2015 after being convicted of four counts of possessing ‘absolutely disgusting’ extreme pornography and 13 counts of having indecent images of children aged between five and 10.
He was spared jail two years later after being convicted again over images relating to ‘misguided’ research he made in an attempt to launch an appeal over his jailing.
Mr George, 67, has written a book claiming to be a victim of Jimmy Savile, one of Britain’s most prolific paedophiles.
His plea to distributing a single image came as he handed a sheaf of documents to a News reporter at 49-year-old Packer’s trial - claiming it would prove his friend’s innocence.
But the documents - handed into the police - contained an indecent image, resulting in his prosecution. The sentencing judge at Portsmouth Crown Court said Mr George’s actions were not sexually motivated and imposed a 12-month conditional discharge.
Although he was refused permission to appeal against his convictions and sentence, senior judges at the Court of Appeal in London quashed the requirement to sign the sex offenders’ register.
Asked about the conviction, Mr George told The News: ‘As there was absolutely no sexual motivation, and as I handed the defence document inside the crown court premises, and as I represent no danger to any person of any age, in sexual matters at all, all you will be doing, is giving the electorate the wrong idea about me.’
He added: ‘What you are doing is in my view just nasty, but be my guest, I know there was no criminal intent, and no justification for what happened.’
Speaking on a Facebook livestream announcing he will stand for election, Mr George said: ‘I do hope I get some votes.’
Mr George gave an opening speech at the News hustings on Tuesday, November 19 but blamed a News journalist for being ‘intimidating’ over earlier questions about the conviction, and left the hustings.
Party leader Don Jerrard told The News his candidates and members have previously been assaulted. He said: ‘We will be asking for 24-hour police protection to all our candidates.
‘We will also be asking the Electoral Commission not to publish home addresses.’
Mr Jerrard said: ‘Jason will say as far as he’s concerned he’s innocent, and he’s always been innocent.’
Mr Packer told jurors in 2015 he had been set up by ‘agents’ of Mike Hancock, and that the indecent images were ‘planted by police’.
His case is currently with the Criminal Cases Review Commission, which investigates miscarriages of justice.
Suspended Conservative Party member Prab Ghosh also signed Mr George’s papers but was unaware of the conviction.
He said: ‘I felt that as a Conservative, we are the champions of democracy and we should encourage every single person to stand.’
Steven George admitted distributing an indecent image of a child at Portsmouth Crown Court. The Court of Appeal rejected his request for permission to appeal against conviction and sentence. But judges sat as an administrative court and quashed his certificate of conviction in relation to his sex offenders’ registration requirement.
The other candidates in the seat are incumbent Stephen Morgan (Labour), Donna Jones (Conservative), Gerald Vernon-Jackson (Liberal Democrats) and John Kennedy (Brexit Party).
Speaking for Packer, Mr George said: ‘He is 100 per cent innocent. I have seen all the evidence and am aware of his total confusion when they charged him.’