A CONVICTED child molester has won the right to an appeal after claiming his convictions were unsafe because the jury might have been prejudiced by evidence suggesting he is gay.
Former St John Ambulance trainer Peter Alexander Bullas, aged 38, was jailed for 16 years at Sheffield Crown Court in 2007 after he was convicted of sex offences against underage boys.
But Bullas, formerly of Greengate Lane, High Green, Sheffield, took his case to London’s Court of Appeal.
His argument is that the jury who heard his case should not have been given evidence suggesting he is gay.
Granting leave to appeal, Mr Justice Kenneth Parker said it is ‘arguable’ the judge’s failure to make sure the jury was not wrongly swayed by the evidence about Bullas’ sexuality meant the convictions might be unsafe.
Bullas was accused of sexual abuse by five young boys.
During his trial the prosecution put forward evidence from a man who said he had had a consensual gay relationship with Bullas and one of his alleged victims claimed to have gone to a gay bar with him.
Mark Barlow, for Bullas, argued there was no need to admit evidence of alleged homosexuality.
Appeal Court judges rejected the argument but Mr Barlow argued even if that evidence was correctly admitted, the trial judge did not properly direct the jury on how to consider it.
He said it was possible people might be prejudiced by someone being homosexual and might need direction from a judge to avoid it tainting their decision.
Mr Justice Kenneth Parker said there could only be prejudice if a jury thought being homosexual made it more likely Bullas was a child abuser - which made ‘no sense’.
But he added: “It appears to us that it is at least arguable that, to avoid the risk of unfair prejudice, a more extensive direction should have been given in respect of the appellant’s homosexual disposition.”
A date for the appeal has not yet been set.