HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam – Disgraced British rocker Gary Glitter protested his innocence Thursday after an appeals court in Vietnam upheld his conviction and three-year prison sentence for molesting young girls at a seaside villa.
"There was no defense allowed!" Glitter screamed to reporters as he left the courthouse. "I didn't do anything!" He yelled an obscenity at journalists before he was put in a military green police truck and driven away.
The 62-year-old singer — famed in the 1970s as an outrageous act decked out in bouffant wigs and sequin jumpsuits — had been found guilty by a court on March 3 for committing obscene acts with girls ages 10 and 11.
Standing before the judge Thursday at the People's Supreme Court of Appeals, Glitter clasped his hands behind him and shook his head several times as he listened to a court translator during the 40-minute verdict.
The court "rejects the appeal of the accused and sentences him to 3 years in prison for obscene acts with children," said Truong Vinh Thuy, one of three judges hearing Glitter's appeal.
Glitter, whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd, was accused of kissing, fondling, and "engaging in other physical acts" with the girls at his rented villa in the seaside city of Vung Tau, about 80 miles southeast of Ho Chi Minh City.
He has maintained his innocence, saying he was teaching the girls English at his home and considered them "like his grandchildren."
He has admitted to police that the 11-year-old girl slept in his room because she was afraid of ghosts, but denied committing any lewd acts, his attorney Le Thanh Kinh said.
Glitter said he was a victim of a conspiracy by the media, witnesses and the victims, Kinh told reporters outside the courthouse.
He accused British tabloids such as The Sun and The News of the World of "damaging his reputation," and claimed "the evidence relating to his case looked like evidence from the newspapers," Kinh said Wednesday.
Glitter had a 1972 hit with "Rock and Roll Part 2," which is still played at sporting events.
In 1997 he brought his computer to be repaired, and thousands of hardcore pornographic images of children were found on it. He was convicted in Britain in 1999 of possessing child pornography, and served half of a four-month jail term.
He later went to Cambodia and in 2002 was expelled from that country, though Cambodian officials did not specify a crime or file charges.
"This case sends a strong message to child sex offenders around the world that society will not tolerate ay form of sexual violence and exploitation of children," said Carmen Madrinan, executive director of the Bangkok-based child protection group ECPAT International.