Current Affairs

Magistrate investigated after linking gay men to paedophiles

Tony Grew April 7, 2008
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Comments made in a regional TV documentary about gay people in Wales has led to an investigation into a local magistrate.

Byron Butler, a former Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Mid Glamorgan who has been on the bench for 30 years, spoke out on an edition of BBC Wales’ Week In Week Out hosted by former Steps singer Ian H Watkins.

Mr Butler has voluntarily agreed not to sit as a magistrate during the investigation by the Advisory Committee on Justices of the Peace in Mid Glamorgan.

“I think probably it’s a suspicion of the mainstream that they perhaps will interfere with young people and so on and that’s historically been the case,” he said when interviewed in the street by the pop star as part of the documentary.

“But they do, don’t they. That’s the reality.” After the programme was broadcast a complaint was made.

Mr Watkins told the BBC:

“I was dumbfounded by his comments, and I was even more shocked when I found out he is a magistrate sitting in judgement on people.

“There is no way I believe he can be fair and impartial with people when he makes comments about gay people being paedophiles. It is just so outrageous.”

The controversial fundamentalist Christian Stephen Green compared Mr Watkins to mass murderer Jeffrey Dahmer in the documentary.

Green, who is notorious for his protests at gay Pride events, called him vile and said he would pray for him.

Watkins publicly came out in January 2007 just before entering the Celebrity Big Brother house.

He revealed that he came out to his bandmates and family when he was 21, but was fearful of the reaction of fans and local people in his home village of Cwmparc in the Rhondda Valley.

Stephen Green is best-known as the head of anti-gay lobby group Christian Voice.

In 2006 he was cleared of public order charges after handing out anti-gay leaflets at Cardiff Mardi Gras.

Last year he protested at both London and Brighton Pride. Steps were a manufactured pop act, popular with children and some gay men in the late 1990s.

Along with bandmates Claire Richards, Lee Latchford Evans, Lisa Scott-Lee and Faye Tozer, Watkins had a string of hits.

The documentary for BBC Wales, called The Only Gay in the Village, explored his life as a gay person in the Welsh valleys.

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