Saturday, 9 August 2008

Convicted Sex Pervert Jonathan King Protests His Innocence

If he thought that he was above the law by having underrage sex with boys, then I

cannot pervievably think about what his appeal is going to be based upon?

Maybe it's just me!

11:41am UK, Wednesday February 27, 2008

James Silver, Media Reporter

Disgraced pop mogul Jonathan King has been told the European Court of Human Rights may accept his appeal against his conviction for sex offences against teenage boys.

180 Jonathan King head down

King: 'Everybody was doing it'

In a move which could see him cleared early next year, the court has been persuaded to take another look at the application, despite having previously rejected it.

His legal team say they can now provide irrefutable evidence that King was in New York when one of his crimes - for which he received a six-year sentence - was supposedly committed in London.

The impresario - who was convicted at the Old Bailey in 2001 of six counts of sexual abuse - told Sky News Online: "My barrister describes it as a major breakthrough."

Sitting in the anonymous swirl and bustle of a central London hotel café, King, who has vociferously maintained his innocence since his arrest, draws stares from people who walk past.

The 63-year-old is wearing a multi-coloured waistcoat, dark green baseball-cap, white shirt with gold cufflinks, tracksuit trousers and trainers.

A money-belt hangs around his waist.

He has always dressed eccentrically, but today he resembles a jockey who has just been mugged by a tourist.

Two-and-a-half years after his release from jail, King - though badly shaken by the recent death of his elderly mother - is still battling to clear his name.

News about his appeal has been greeted with a deafening silence from the press, in sharp contrast to his arrest and trial which garnered tens of thousands of - often lurid - words.

After he was freed in March 2005, King told The Guardian that "the mere mention of my name provokes hysteria" in the tabloids.

So I wonder what he makes of the media coverage he has received since?

"It's been entirely predictable," he replies.

"Most of my friends told me to come out with a coat over my head, skulk into a car and say nothing.

"But that's just not me, I'm afraid.

"I told them if I'm coming out as a 'Vile Pervert', which I knew was what all the newspapers would say, I'd rather be a front-page 'Vile Pervert' than one buried away on page 36."

It is a revealing admission from a man who clearly believes notoriety is preferable to being forgotten about altogether.

A month after his release - when the initial feeding-frenzy had abated - King opened the News of the World to find a picture of himself sitting in a deckchair under the headline: "Pervert in the Park".

The paper declared it had "caught the sex monster slumped in a deckchair ogling an innocent child strolling in London's Hyde Park."

Talking about the incident now, he claims the newspaper set the whole thing up and "doctored" the image to make it look like he was "ogling" the child.

"I'd been doing an interview with a TV journalist, who I didn't trust an inch.

"Suddenly, he said he had to go off and have a pee. While he was gone a long-lens photographer took the pictures.

"Afterwards, I complained to the Press Complaints Commission."

But the newspaper watchdog rejected his complaint, finding there was no evidence the image had been tampered with.

After the NotW story, King slipped off the media radar altogether.

Indeed, so little has been written about him he is convinced there has been a decision by editors to "freeze [him] out".

He says: "It's almost as if a red light comes on when someone mentions my name. I don't even crop up in celebrity birthday lists anymore."

Similarly he claims there have been "several occasions" in which journalists, who have written positive pieces about him, have had their articles spiked.

Yet King was never entirely frozen out.

The Observer's Lynn Barber, the columnist Carol Sarler and the investigative reporter Bob Woffinden have all been notably sympathetic to his cause.

And the recently-deceased former Daily Mirror editor Richard Stott was perhaps King's most influential media supporter.

Stott said that while he did not agree with King's assertion that he had not committed any criminal offences, underage sex was rife in the music industry and the musician was the victim of what amounted to a homophobic "witch-hunt".

"If King, like many of the stars at the time, had taken advantage of girls instead of boys, then nothing would have been done and what was written [in the press] would have been very different," he wrote.

King, who has legal bills of £750,000, freely admits he had sex with teenagers who were under the age of consent.

"Anyone who was around in the 1960s? All us pop stars were [hitting on] anything that moved.

"Loads of them were groupies who put on the face-paint and the bras and claimed to be 18 and we thought we'd be lucky if they were 16, but they probably weren't a day over 14.

"Everybody was doing it. That's the way it was back then.

"I was bi-sexual and had sex with both genders. I found it ludicrous that it was legal to have sex with a girl of 16 but not with a boy of the same age."

A few days after this interview I phone King to tell him that his comments about having sex with underage groupies are very difficult to square with his campaign to quash his conviction.

"I've always said I was guilty of breaking the age of consent laws because they weren't equalised," he replies.

"But I wasn't guilty of having sex with the men I was convicted of [having sex with]."

He is missing the point but I let it lie.

Even if he is successful on appeal, I wonder whether he thinks he will ever be able to convince the media that he is not a 'vile pervert' or 'pop pariah'?

"I suspect that it won't make any difference for 95% of the media," he says.

"For them I will be a vile pervert for the rest of my days."

He adds: "But thankfully, unlike most people, I have never cared about the opinions of strangers."

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