Former Moray councillor denies child porn charges

A former Moray councillor has denied possessing and distributing indecent photographs of children.

Sean Morton, of Mayfield Street in Stirling, pleaded not guilty to five charges when he appeared in the dock at Elgin Sheriff Court yesterday. The 36-year-old confirmed pleas for the first time after previously appearing in private in December.

The allegations against the former Lhanbryde resident stretch across a period of more than two years.

Morton is accused of possessing extreme pornographic material between November 2013 and June last year.

It is further alleged that on November 11, 2013, he “did take or permit to be taken” indecent or pseudo-photographs of children at a Garmouth Road property in Lhanbryde and did have the same type of images in his possession on Vienenburg Avenue in Forres on the same day.

Prosecutors are also accusing Morton of “distributing or showing” indecent or pseudo-photographs of children at the same Forres address on June 6 last year.

The final charge alleges that the former Fochabers and Lhanbryde councillor “shouted aggressively” and participated in social media discussions about child abuse at the Forres property on either the same or following day in the presence of another man, which allegedly caused the man “fear or alarm”.

The allegations came to light when Morton was still an elected member of Moray Council.

The Labour Party suspended him and he lost his bid for re-election as an independent candidate in May. Morton also previously fought Westminster and Scottish election campaigns.

Yesterday, Morton’s defence solicitor Laura Greer asked for more time to prepare background reports on her client as well as obtaining conclusions from a “computer expert”.

Fiscal Ross Carvel told Sheriff Chris Dickson the Crown was ready for trial.

Morton is due to appear at Elgin Sheriff Court for another preliminary hearing on October 31.

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