Chris Langham guilty of downloading child porn

Thursday 2nd August 2007, 8:08am

Chris Langham, star of the political sitcom The Thick of It, been found guilty of downloading child porn at his trial at Maidstone Crown Court today.

The jury, which consisted of four women and seven men (one juror having been dismissed), took 2 hours and 40 minutes to find the actor guilty of 15 counts related to the downloading of images.

However the actor has been acquitted of charges of indecently assaulting an underage girl and two counts of a serious sexual offence. He has also already been cleared of four charges of incidentally assaulting a 16-year-old girl between 1996-98.

As the verdicts were returned the 58-year-old actor stood with his eyes closed, but did not react visibly.

The result of this trial will likely rule out any chance of Langham resuming his role of MP Hugh Abbot in the BBC4 sitcom The Thick of It. Armando Iannucci had said previously he hoped to film a new six-part series of the political comedy at the end of the year with Langham, however that was under the assumption the star was cleared of all charges.

No doubt any chances of a second series of Paul Whitehouse's sublime 2005 sitcom Help will also now have to be abandoned. Langham played a key role in the sitcom as the psychiatrist to Whitehouse's various characters.

During the trial Langham claimed the reason he downloaded the images found on his computer was that he was formulating a character for the BBC comedy. However when Whitehouse took to the witness stand he told the court he had no knowledge of such a character.

During his time in the witness box, Langham said he had been the victim of a abuse while on holiday in Canada as a child. He said he did not want to go into any detail, but he felt "deep, deep shame" about what had happened.

Although Langham has been charged with downloading child pornography he has been cleared of all the charges related to indecently assaulting the underage girl who claimed the actor took her virginity at the age of 14 in a London hotel (More details on these charges from Chortle).

In statement read out by his solicitor, Langham said: "I am absolutely delighted my name has been cleared of all the charges I have consistently denied. I have been found guilty on charges I have made admission to from the moment of my first arrest. I am grateful to the jury for their careful deliberation and I would also like to thank the press for their restraint in not making the lives of my wife, children and family difficult during this time and I implore them to continue to grant my family the privacy they need."

Langham will now remain in custody until he is sentenced on September 14th. In the meantime a report will be compiled to gauge what threat he poses to society. The judge has also ordered Langham to sign the sex offenders register.

The BBC have a good background piece on Langham's career

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