Gary Glitter charged with child obscenity

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The Independent Online

Former British rocker Gary Glitter was formally charged today with committing obscene acts with two girls aged 10 and 11 at a resort town on the coast of southern Vietnam, a prosecutor said.

Glitter, 61, who won fame as a flamboyant glam rocker in the 1970s, is accused of kissing and fondling the girls and engaging in other physical acts at his rental home in Vung Tau, prosecutor Nguyen Van Xung said.

The charges carry prison terms of three to seven years, said Xung, who is deputy chief prosecutor in southern Ba Ria Vung Tau province.

Glitter, whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd, originally faced possible child rape charges carrying the death penalty, but prosecutors did not find enough evidence for those charges, Xung said.

He has been detained at a jail near Vung Tau since November 19 after he was seized in Ho Chi Minh City trying to board a flight out of the country.

Prosecutors will hand their case to Ba Ria Vung Tau provincial People's Court early next week, which will decide within 2 1/2 months whether to put Glitter on trial, Xung said.

Glitter's Vietnamese attorney Le Thanh Kinh has said he would request that authorities release Glitter on a 40,000 dollar bail, but judges are unlikely to grant such a request, the prosecutor said.

"We haven't been officially requested a bail, but if there is one, it's unlikely that he would be released on bail because there is a risk that he would flee the country," he said.

Police had said earlier said they were looking into child rape charges because medical checks showed evidence that one of the girls had sexual intercourse. However, the girl told police that she previously had sexual intercourse with a boyfriend, not Glitter, Xung said.

"There's not enough evidence to press for the child rape charges," Xung said.

Glitter is perhaps best known for his song "Rock and Roll (Part 2)," still often played at sporting events.

He was convicted in Britain in 1999 of possessing child pornography and served half of a four-month jail term. He later went to Cambodia and was permanently expelled in 2002, but Cambodian officials did not specify any crime or file charges.