Youth leader in court battle to clear his name
A CHURCH youth leader who is serving a prison sentence for a string of child sex offences has won the first stage of a Court of Appeal battle to clear his name.
Philip Stephen Barlow, 30, was a youth leader in the Grace Bible Church in Saltford when he is alleged to have committed the offences.
In December 2011, Barlow, of Raleigh Close, Saltford, was found guilty of 14 sex offences at Bristol Crown Court and sentenced to four years for the abuse.
But three senior judges in London said it was "arguable" that something went wrong at the trial and granted permission for a full appeal hearing.
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Lord Justice Leveson, sitting with Mr Justice Bean and Judge Michael Stokes QC, warned Barlow's lawyers that it was only the first step in his attempt to clear his name.
His barrister, James Scobie QC, had put forward four grounds of appeal, but was told only one of them was worthy of a full hearing.
The judges rejected claims that the prosecution had made an "unfairly prejudicial" comment during the trial which affected the safety of the convictions. And they said the trial judge was right to refuse to allow the defence to adduce evidence of the two victims' and a witness' alleged "bad character".
The judges granted public funding for Barlow's appeal against three convictions for sexual assault, ten for sexual activity with a child and one for voyeurism. No date was set for the full hearing of his appeal.