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Singer Jeff Anderson facing court over child porn has indecent assault charges withdrawn

By Paul Higgins

Published 01/06/2016

Jeffrey Anderson outside court
Jeffrey Anderson outside court

A wannabe singer accused of having indecent images of children and making covert recordings of others has had two charges of indecent assault withdrawn.

A prosecuting lawyer told Newtownards Magistrates Court there had been a decision to withdraw counts four and eight, two charges of indecent assault, against Jeffrey Anderson (25).

Count four alleged that the defendant, who appeared in a dark suit and open necked shirt, indecently assaulted a female on a date between August 1, 2005 and March 31, 2007. Count eight alleged he indecently assaulted a second female on a date between April 1 and May 31, 2006.

While those two charges were formally withdrawn yesterday, Anderson faces 14 other charges including theft, specifically stealing photographs in 2011, and three counts of possessing an indecent image of a child in 2013.

Anderson, from the Crawfordsburn Road in Newtownards, also faces 10 counts of voyeurism on dates between August 2005 and August 2013, alleging that he "recorded another person doing a private act, knowing that the other person did not consent to being recorded".

A Public Prosecution Service lawyer said the full police file had been received so she was requesting an eight-week adjournment, adding that "obviously this (case) will go to Crown Court."

Previous courts heard the charges were brought against Anderson after a police investigation lasting over two years.

The defendant first shot to prominence when he took part in Andrew Lloyd Webber's ITV talent show Jesus Christ Superstar, earning the nickname "baby Jesus" because he was the programme's youngest contestant.

Although he did not win the part of Jesus, he went on to be chosen as the understudy and then toured the UK with the production.

He appeared on TV screens again in 2014, when he took part in BBC singing show The Voice, but he failed to impress the judges and did not make it past the audition stage.

In court yesterday, his defence solicitor said he hoped the two-month adjournment would allow "the directing officer to make substantial progress".

He also complained that in previous reporting of the case, the presumption of innocence enjoyed by other defendants "hasn't been extended to aspects" of the case against Anderson.

"The two charges that have been withdrawn are serious allegations in themselves," the solicitor said.

"In this particular case, the defendant has been photographed on entering and leaving court in every appearance. Every aspect of this case that has been mentioned in court has been the subject of comment by the Press and media, and I just hope that the same balance is given to what has emerged from today's application by the prosecution."

Anderson was released on continuing bail and is due back before the court on July 26. As part of his bail conditions, the defendant is prohibited from carrying or being in possession of any device intended or capable of recording still and moving images, excluding mobile phones.

He is not allowed to leave the UK or apply for a passport or speak to any prosecution witness and he must report to police once a week.

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