Highbridge councillor Joe Leach admits sex offences
former Highbridge councillor has admitted a number of sex offences
against two teenage boys in a court hearing on Friday (July 4th).
Leach, 26, pleaded guilty to seven counts of taking an indecent
image of a child between April 2011 and August 2012.
Leach, who stepped down as a town councillor in December 2012,
faced a total of 12 charges but has denied one count of sexual
assault and four other counts of taking indecent photographs of
a child when he appeared at Taunton Crown Court.
the hearing, he spoke only to confirm his name and enter pleas
and was warned that he could face a jail sentence.
to the media afterwards, Mr Leach said that what he had done was
a "stupid mistake" and insisted: "It wont
happen again, but I will just have to pay for what Ive done
in the short term."
the ages of the victims were not mentioned during the hearing,
he indicated afterwards that they were around the age of 17.
offences that Mr Leach admitted to relate to two separate boys,
while he denied all charges relating to an alleged third victim,
who was also a boy.
now have two weeks to decide whether to accept his pleas or to pursue
a trial on five denied counts.
David Ticehurst said during Friday's hearing that he was going to order that a pre-sentence report should be prepared
in relation to the matters that Mr Leach had pleaded guilty to. He was told that he must
co-operate fully with the probation officer.
The judge added that he wanted
to make it clear to Mr Leach that all options are open to the judge
who deals with the case, including an immediate prison sentence. He said that no
promises are being held open to Mr Leach by adjourning it for such
Leach was bailed until July 31st and was made to sign the sex
offenders register before leaving court.