Former BBC presenter 'strenuously denies' child sex offences claiming his links to corporation 'attracted undue attention'
18:43 GMT, 30 November 2012
'Irrespective of innocence or guilt, people have judged me before one word has been given in evidence in a court of law,' Mr Souter said outside court this morning
A former BBC Radio Norfolk host has appeared court this morning to 'strenuously deny' sexual offences against children.
Michael Souter, 59, of Loddon, Norfolk claims his links to the corporation have attracted undue attention.
The broadcaster has been charged with 18 offences relating to boys, plus an offence against a man and one against a woman.
The charges relate to six different
boys, including under-14s, and two adults and include serious sexual
offences and indecent assault.
The offences are alleged to have happened in Norfolk between 1979 and 1999.
earlier charges overlap with Souter’s career at the BBC in the 1980s,
during which he helped launch Radio Norfolk and spent some time
presenting the breakfast show.
after his first appearance at Norwich Magistrates’ Court this morning,
Souter said: 'I am well aware this case is a stressful experience for
almost everybody concerned, not just me. Irrespective of innocence or
guilt, people have judged me before one word has been given in evidence
in a court of law.
'Many people wonder how much coverage
would have been given both in the UK and around the world if the
letters “BBC” had not formed part of my CV.
Speaking after his first appearance at Norwich Magistrates' Court, pictured, this morning, Mr Souter said: 'I am well aware this case is a stressful experience for almost everybody concerned, not just me'
'The support of my friends and family, during what has been an extremely difficult period, has been overwhelming and humbling and I cannot thank them enough for their support.
'I would just ask that nobody else jumps to any conclusions before the evidence has been heard.
'I look forward to being able to prove my innocence and put this awful episode behind me.'
During the 10-minute hearing in which Souter did not enter a plea, defence solicitor Alun Jones said: 'My client is a well-known local journalist and is very well known in the area. He now works as a freelance travel writer.
'It has long been his habit to stay in Spain for the winter.
'There are no grounds to believe that Mr Souter is going to abscond.'
District Judge Peter Veits ordered that Souter appear at Norwich Crown Court on December 14.
He extended Souter’s bail with no restrictions on foreign travel, but Souter is not allowed any contact with under-16s without the presence of an adult, and he is not allowed to contact any witnesses.