Former Rocker Gary Glitter to Go on Trial

Monday, February 20th 2006, 10:16 am
By: News On 6

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) _ Former British rocker Gary Glitter will stand trial in early March on charges he committed obscene acts with two underaged Vietnamese girls, the head of the Vietnamese provincial people's court said Monday.

Glitter, 61, who won fame as a flamboyant glam rocker in the 1970s, has been accused of kissing and fondling a 10-year-old and 11-year-old and ``engaging in other physical acts'' at his rental home in the coastal resort city of Vung Tau last year. The crime carries a sentence between three to seven years in prison.

``The trial will be held in early March,'' said Nguyen Van Co, head of the provincial People's Court in southern Ba Ria Vung Tau province. ``We will set the date for the trial in the next day or two.''

Court officials have not yet decided whether to open the trial to the public or keep it closed, said Co, though he said it was more likely that it would be closed because it involves minors.

``This case seriously violates Vietnamese habits and customs and the families of the two victims have asked for a closed trial,'' Co said.

Under Vietnamese laws, even if the trial is held in closed session, the verdict and sentencing must be open to the public.

He said the court will ask police to locate the two alleged victims, one of whom is currently living in Vung Tau and the other in the Mekong Delta province of Can Tho.

Glitter, whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd, has been in police custody at a jail near Vung Tau since Nov. 19, when he was seized in Ho Chi Minh City trying to board a flight out of the country.

During the criminal investigation, police had considered whether to charge Glitter with child rape, which carries a maximum penalty of death, but prosecutors did not find enough evidence to support the charge.

Glitter is perhaps best known for his song ``Rock and Roll (Part 2),'' still often played at sporting events.

He was convicted in Britain in 1999 of possessing child pornography and served half of a four-month jail term. He later went to Cambodia and was permanently expelled in 2002, but Cambodian officials did not specify any crime or file charges.