Thursday, January 10, 2008

Conservative councillor charged with sex offences

Mark McCarthy

A senior politician has been charged with indecently assaulting a boy.

Mark McCarthy, 36, a member of Worthing Borough Council, will appear at Reading Crown Court on February 12 accused of two counts of indecent assault on a child under 14.

The charges are said to related to incidents between February 27 2002 and December 31 2002.

The independent councillor refused to comment on the matter other than to say they were "malicious allegations".

Coun McCarthy has previously hit the headlines after stumbling out of a London nightclub and draping himself across a car.

He was also banned from the council for one month after appearing drunk at an official ceremony.


Update 27 March 2008

A councillor facing sex charges broke down and wept as colleagues paid tribute to him.

Mark McCarthy is quitting after nine years as a Worthing borough councillor before the May 1 local elections.

Coun McCarthy, 36, who represents Offington as an independent Tory after being expelled by the ruling Conservative group, is to stand trial at Oxford Crown Court on July 2 on two counts of indecent assault on a young boy between February 27 and December 31, 2002.

At the last council meeting before the elections, Coun Reg Green, a senior Tory and fellow Offington ward councillor, said: "I shall be very sad to see Mark go. He has been a very good councillor in my ward, a great stalwart, and assisted me when I was canvassing.

"I have had many compliments from constituents about Mark and what he has done."

His tribute was greeted with applause by both parties, before Lib Dem councillor Hazel Thorpe said: "I think you are very brave to be here today."

Coun McCarthy wept as Mayor Heather Mercer presented him with a book on Worthing before kissing him on the cheek.

Deputy leader Coun Ann Barlow also went to speak quietly to Coun McCarthy before he left the council chamber.

Two long-serving Lib Dem councillors, former mayor Geraldine Lissenburg and John Lovell, are also standing down.

Coun Lissenburg, who represents Broadwater, served for 20 years, and Coun Lovell, of Tarring ward, 17 years.

There were calls for both to be made aldermen but Coun Lovell declined and said: "I think honorary aldermen should be abolished."


UPDATE 3 October 2008

A former councillor has been cleared of sexually assaulting a baby.

But Mark McCarthy was found guilty of intimidating a witness in the case.

A judge put off sentencing the 37-year-old ex-stockbroker but told him he was not likely to be sent to prison.

During his trial the seven women and five men on the jury had been told by prosecutor Alan Blake that McCarthy had indecently assaulted the tiny child on two separate occasions a few weeks apart - the first when his victim was just three months old.

When he learned he was being prosecuted he then phoned the child's mother twice, warning her he had naked photographs of her which he would send to the newspapers if she testified against him.

"You're f***** either way, darling, you really are," he told her.

Today the jury at Oxford Crown Court took four hours and 40 minutes to clear him of indecent assault on a male person.

They had returned a guilty verdict on the lesser charge of witness intimidation with the intention of perverting the course of justice, earlier in the day.

The judge reassured McCarthy, a former Conservative member of Worthing Borough Council, West Sussex, that he would not be sent to jail for his crime.

He urged him to begin addressing his alcohol problem, which was thought to be at the root of the trouble which brought him before the court.

Judge Anthony King also hinted that alcohol abuse treatment was likely to be a central part of any future sentence.

The baby's mother had given evidence that in 2002, on an occasion when McCarthy had been visiting, her son was lying in her bedroom, naked from the waist down, having just been bathed or while having his nappy changed.

The mother, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, alleged McCarthy had been nuzzling the child when he suddenly indecently assaulted it.

As he did this the woman let out a stunned laugh, bringing her daughter into the room and they both looked at each other in shock.

The mother did not report the incident, which was repeated a few weeks later, during another nappy change.

This time the woman said she told McCarthy: "It's wrong. Don't you ever do that again."

According to her he seemed surprised by her reaction. He responded: "I only did it because it made you laugh the first time."

Confused by what had happened, the woman did not report the incident to the authorities but told friends, who urged her to.

It was only when one of the people she had confided in contacted the police that a full criminal investigation was launched.

Prosecutor Mr Blake said after the police became involved and McCarthy was specifically told not to contact the woman, he made his threatening phone call.

"He said he was going to publish the pictures of her in the papers to prove he was not a paedophile," he said.

"He knew perfectly well that she was a witness and those calls were clearly intended to dissuade her from coming to court."

From the start McCarthy maintained his innocence, claiming the allegations were motivated by malice on the part of the baby's mother.

He described the alleged attack as "a perfectly innocent act."

Following the verdicts, Judge King, sitting at Oxford Crown Court, said: "I think there are unusual circumstances in this case and a pre-sentence report would be helpful.

"One of the issues it should address is the abuse of alcohol."

He told McCarthy: "Unless something unusual happens between now and then I don't propose to pass a custodial sentence.

"I am concerned that you have to do something about your alcohol abuse."

He ordered the Probation Service to prepare pre-sentence reports on the defendant, of Offington Drive, Worthing, West Sussex.

McCarthy was told to return to Oxford Crown Court on October 31 to be sentenced.


UPDATE 4/11/2008

A former Tory councillor has been spared jail despite threatening a woman testifying against him in a court case.

Mark McCarthy, a former member of Worthing Borough Council, was given a 20-week jail term, suspended for 12 months, after a jury convicted him of intimidating a witness.

The former stockbroker phoned the woman twice after learning she had claimed he indecently assaulted her baby son.

At Oxford Crown Court, McCarthy, 37, was cleared of any sex attacks but found guilty of intimidation.

The judge considered how to punish McCarthy, who has a serious alcohol problem, after the former councillor wasted a pre-sentence report session with the probation service by turning up drunk.

Full story and Source

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