Councillor faces child porn charges

By Dave Gooderham and Liz HearnshawA TOWN councillor charged with 16 counts of making indecent photographs of children vowed last night to clear his name.

By Dave Gooderham and Liz Hearnshaw

A TOWN councillor charged with 16 counts of making indecent photographs of children vowed last night to clear his name.

Mabon Dane, a member of Haverhill Town Council, was charged yesterday by police after answering bail granted following his arrest last year.

Dane, 35, of Withersfield Road, Haverhill, will appear before Ipswich magistrates on February 1 charged with 16 allegations of making indecent photographs of children under the age of 18.


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Speaking from his home last night, Dane protested his innocence and said he would defend himself against the charges with all his breath.

“It has all been a bit of a shock and it is still sinking in. One thing I am relieved about is that after six months of being in the dark I now know what evidence the police have,” he added.

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“I have defended the charges from day one and I will continue to do so. I have been really worried for the last six months having this hanging over me.

“I still have difficulty in accepting what has happened and in one day the police searched my flat and my life has changed.”

Dane, a staunch campaigner for improving Haverhill's image, hoped he would continue to receive support from people in the town.

“Before yesterday I've had a lot of support and I hope it is going to continue. People still have trust in me, they know I care and love this town,” he said.

“But no matter what happens with the work I have done, I know I have left my legacy in Haverhill.”

Fellow town councillor Chris Cullum said he believed Dane to be innocent of the allegations and pledged to support his friend and colleague throughout the court proceedings.

“I think he is innocent and I should imagine he is quite shocked by this. Accusations like this would get anyone down, but I will help him through what is to come,” he added.

Dane, who was first elected to Haverhill Town Council in May 2000, was re-elected three years later as a member of the Haverhill Representative Alliance.

He also stood unsuccessfully in a by-election for an empty seat in the Haverhill East ward on St Edmundsbury Borough Council last year.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said: “Mabon Dane has been charged with 16 counts of making indecent photographs of children under the age of 18 years. He is to appear before Ipswich Magistrates' Court from 10am on February 1.”

Following his arrest, Dane was asked by his fellow town councillors not to attend committee meetings at which matters involving children and young people were likely to be discusses and to leave any other meeting at which such topics arose.

A spokesman for the council said yesterday Dane would be able to continue serving as a town councillor unless he was found guilty of an offence and handed a three-month sentence.

“Following advice received from the National Association of Local Councils, Haverhill Town Council agreed to ask councillor Mabon Dane not to attend meetings at which matters relating to young people were being debated,” he added.

“He can continue to serve as a councillor unless either he receives a sentence, whether suspended or not, of greater than three months, or the Standards Board for England decide he is not fit to.”

A spokeswoman for the Standards Board for England, which investigates allegations concerning breaches of the code of conduct, said action would only be taken against any councillor if it received a specific complaint.

“If somebody made a complaint about a specific incident, such as allegations a member had brought their office into disrepute, then we would look into it and decide whether or not to investigate,” she added.

“The Standards Board does not have the power to disqualify a member. However, at the end of a case, the ethical standards officer who investigated could decide to refer the case to the local Standards Committee or the Adjudication Panel for England.

“The Standards Committee could suspend the councillor for up to three months, but the Adjudication Panel has greater powers and can disqualify for up to five years.”

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