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30 November 2012, 10:51
A former BBC Radio Norfolk presenter has appeared in court charged with 18 child sex offences against boys between 1979 and 1999.
Michael Souter, from Low Bungay Road in Loddon, has been charged with 18 offences relating to boy, plus an offence against a man and an offence against a woman.
The offences are alleged to have taken place between 1979 and 1999 in Norfolk.
The 59-year-old is due before Norwich Magistrates Court on Friday 30 November 2012.
In a written statement, Mr Souter said:
'This is the third time that Norfolk Police have investigated these alleged offences, which I strenuously deny and will vigorously defend. On both previous occasions, the Crown Prosecution Service advised against making charges. It has taken Norfolk police nearly twenty years and two years in the current investigation to get to this stage using methods that are now subject to a judicial review in the High Court.
For that reason, plus the fact I have now been charged, you will understand that I cannot go into detail.My close friends have been a tower of strength during what has been an extremely difficult period and I cannot thank them enough for their support.I would just ask that nobody jumps to any conclusions and I look forward to being able to prove my innocence and get on with my life.'
Today he appeared at Norwich Magistrates' Court wearing a blazer and tie.
Asking that Souter's passport, which was removed under bail conditions, be returned, defence solicitor Alun Jones said: ``My client is a well-known local journalist and is very well-known in the area. He now works as a freelance travel writer.
``It has long been his habit to stay in Spain for the winter. There are no grounds to believe that Mr Souter is going to abscond.''
District Judge Peter Veits ordered that Souter appear at Norwich Crown Court on December 14.
He extended Souter's bail with no restrictions on foreign travel. Souter will not be allowed any contact with under-16s without the presence of an adult or to contact any witnesses.