Former councillor appears in court to deny five charges

A FORMER LABOUR COUNCILLOR for the Fochabers/Lhanbryde ward on Moray Council has entered a not guilty plea to five charges relating to extreme pornographic material.

Sean Morton, 36 and whose address was given as Mayfield Street in Stirling, appeared at Elgin Sheriff Court on Tuesday where he confirmed his earlier not-guilty plea on charges relating to the period between November 2013 and June 2016.

The court was told that Morton was accused of being in possession of extreme pornographic material and “did take or permit to be taken” indecent or pseudo-photographs of children at a property on Garmouth Road in Lhanbryde.

He is further charged that he had the same type of images at an address on Vienenburg Avenue in Forres. Another charge relates to the “distribution or showing” of such photographs at the Forres address in June 2016.

He is also accused of participating in social media discussions about child abuse at the Forres address in the presence of another man and allegedly caused the man “fear and alarm”.

Following an earlier court appearance in private, Morton, who was a serving councillor at the time, was suspended from the Labour Party. He then lost a bid for re-election when he ran as an independent candidate in May.

His defence solicitor asked for more time to prepare background reports and the opinion of a computer expert. Morton is expected to reappear in Elgin Sheriff Court for another preliminary hearing on October 31.