Chris Langham found guilty of downloading child pornography

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The British actor Chris Langham has been found guilty on 15 counts of downloading child pornography. A jury of four women and seven men took two hours and forty minutes to reach a verdict at Maidstone Crown Court. Judge Philip Statman said that Langham will remain in custody till his sentencing on September 14.

Langham, 58, from Goldford, Kent claimed that he had been studying porn sites, researching for a character called, "Pedro," for the television series Help. However, co-star Paul Whitehouse claimed he had no knowledge of this research. Langham refused to answer questions about certain images found on his computer.

During his time in court, Langham claimed that he was abused at the age of eight during a holiday to Canada. He also said his brothers and sisters were abused, and that he felt no shame at looking at child pornography. Langham said he pleaded not guilty because he did not want to be labelled a, "Paedophile".

Langham however was cleared of charges of indecently assaulting an underage girl. The girl claimed that Langham took her virginity at the age of 14, but Judge Statman said, "The Crown accepts that there is no evidence to support these particular counts on the indictment."

Langham said, in a statement read out by his solicitor, "I am absolutely delighted my name has been cleared of all the charges I have consistently denied. I have been found guilty on charges I have made admission to from the moment of my first arrest. I am grateful to the jury for their careful deliberation and I would also like to thank the press for their restraint in not making the lives of my wife, children and family difficult during this time and I implore them to continue to grant my family the privacy they need. I am afraid I am unable to comment further until sentence on the 14 September."

Derek Cuff, Deputy Inspector of Kent Police said, "Let us not forget that child abuse images circulating on the internet are real situations involving real children, who are sexually abused for other's gain and self-gratification. Viewing such images simply perpetuates child abuse. The jury had to view some images that had to be selected carefully - but what they saw and heard in evidence is harrowing and disturbing. I think this itself puts some measure of perspective on the level of child abuse we are dealing with."

This will affect the filming of the next series of the satirical sitcom The Thick of It, where Langham plays Hugh Abbot MP. The last two special episodes did not star Langham due to his arrest. Writer Armando Iannucci hoped that if Langham was found not guilty, he would be able to appear in his show again.


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