JP who raped girl, 10, jailed for seven years

A MAGISTRATE who raped a 10-year-old girl was yesterday jailed for seven years. John Johnson, 46, of Billingham, Cleveland, was also found guilty of indecently assaulting her and another young girl. Sentencing him Mr Justice Wright said that he had 'betrayed the law he swore to uphold'.

Teesside Crown Court was told how Johnson abused the first girl for several years during the Seventies, culminating in rape. Nearly 15 years later he began abusing another girl. At the time he was a magistrate with six years experience on the juvenile panel.

Johnson, a former chairman of the Stockton North Constituency Labour Party, president of the local trades council and a union official, had denied the charges. He said the girls had made up the stories because they disliked him.

The court was told that the first victim, now in her 20s, did not tell anyone what was happening for fear she would not be believed. But 15 years later, when she heard Johnson had been arrested for similar offences, she went to the police. The other victim, now 12, gave evidence via a video link.

Johnson's crimes came to light when the second girl's father became suspicious and the magistrate was put under surveillance. Johnson resigned as a justice when he was arrested.