Published: January 31, 2012
Former Burnham-On-Sea Scout leader denies sexual allegations

Former Burnham-On-Sea Scout leader David Burland has told a court this week that the allegations against him are a "complete invention".

Mr Burland, 54, is standing trial accused of carrying out 33 sexual offences over a 23-year period.

He told Taunton Crown Court on Tuesday that allegations which claimed he has shown a child a pornographic video were untrue as he did not even have a video player in his house.

Mr Burland added that he was "not grooming anybody" and pointed out that the same "straplines" and phrases came up as they were part of a conspiracy against him.

Prosecuting barrister Ian Fenny said the accounts of alleged victims bore similarities because Mr Burland had allegedly used repeated patterns to abuse his victims. Mr Burland also told the court that the allegations started when he threw out a teenager from his unit for discussing sexual issues with other younger scouts. He said that was when the "false allegations" against him began.

Family members, including Mr Burland’s wife, took to the stand to support his account of events. Defence solicitor Rebecca Bradbury also read several character references for Mr Burland from friends and others outside his family.

They highlighted Mr Burland’s devoted time to the Scout movement, describing him as a "family man" and an "absolute gentleman".

Mr Burland - who was suspended by the Scout Association - has consistently denied all the charges. The case continues.

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