Community leader kicked out over porn conviction

Gary Slow was a committee member at Bingham Community Centre. Picture: comp

Gary Slow was a committee member at Bingham Community Centre. Picture: comp

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A COMMUNITY leader has been barred from the committee of an Edinburgh neighbourhood centre after he was convicted for possessing extreme pornography, amid claims his colleagues were kept in the dark about the offence.

Gary Slow, previously a committee member at Bingham Community Centre, was ejected by fellow leaders at a recent annual general meeting, shortly after they were told about the conviction and had the information confirmed by a council official.

Slow, 50, of Bingham Crescent, who is said to have helped organise children’s trips and after-school clubs, pleaded guilty at Edinburgh Sheriff Court in November after explicit material was found in his possession.

Senior staff at the centre said they were angry that council authorities failed to inform them immediately and said the lack of awareness had affected their ability to do their jobs properly.

They also claimed they had been “gagged” from disclosing details of the conviction to others because it could lead to Slow coming to harm.

A source close to the situation told the Evening News: “Had I not asked the council representative, [Slow] could still have been on it and no action would have been taken.

“He had to be asked to leave at the annual general meeting – the council would not ask him to leave.

“It’s obviously quite shocking. The community will be very angry because they were not made aware.”

Court documents confirm Slow pleaded guilty to the offence of possessing “extreme pornographic images” after police were given permission to search his home in August 2012. He was issued with a community payback order and told to undertake 120 hours of unpaid work.

His name was also added to the sex offenders register but later recalled after it was decided the offence did not meet the threshold at which full inclusion was necessary.

“He was there at the meeting and he was told he was barred,” said the source. “We told him, ‘you need to leave, we cannot have you here’.

“I don’t want to see the guy murdered, but he’s walking around our community and he’s a member of other voluntary groups and it’s just not sitting right.”

Community safety bosses declined to comment on the case specifically.

A spokesman said: “When the council is aware of an individual’s criminal convictions it has a duty to liaise with relevant partners regarding any appropriate course of action.”