26 May 2024

Ex-Leeton citizen of the year cries as alleged slingshot possession court hearing is delayed again

| Oliver Jacques
Start the conversation
man with medals around him

Alan Chesworth was named Leeton citizen of the year in 2019. Photo: Facebook.

Warning: This story contains graphic content.

A former Leeton citizen of the year has burst into tears after learning a court case about his alleged possession of Shanghai slingshots won’t be scheduled until 1 August, 2024.

Alan George Chesworth, 80, was previously convicted of bestiality charges in 2021 after police found videos and images of him participating in sexual acts with a dog.

Later, in June 2023, he was arrested by police at a Leeton home and charged with failure to comply with reporting obligations and possession or use of a prohibited weapon without a permit.

The court case on this more recent matter has been repeatedly delayed and rescheduled since then.

At the latest hearing on Thursday (23 May), Mr Chesworth appeared via a video link from custody. His lawyer, David Davidge, informed the court that his client had been in jail for the past 11 months for separate offences that occurred in 2020.

READ ALSO Cluney’s jail time extended after being sentenced for choking offence against another woman

Mr Davidge said this current court matter related to his client allegedly being found in possession of three Shanghai slingshots.

The lawyer told Magistrate Trevor Khan that Chesworth wanted to be present in the courtroom, because he has trouble hearing proceedings when attending via audiovisual link. He was unable to be transported to the court on Thursday.

Magistrate Khan said a busy schedule over winter meant the earliest the matter could be rescheduled was 1 August. A Section 77 Prisoner Order is to be issued for that court date, enabling Chesworth to be taken to the courtroom to attend the hearing in person.

Chesworth started crying, apparently distressed that the matter would take so long to be heard again.

“If we can find an earlier date before then, we will,” Magistrate Khan told him.

Chesworth has experienced a fall from grace since 2019, when he was named Leeton Shire Council’s citizen of the year for his extensive volunteer work with groups such as the Rotary Club of Leeton Centre, the Leeton Presbyterian Church and the Royal Agricultural Society, which gave him life membership.

He 2021, he pleaded guilty to charges of bestiality, firearm and drug offences, together with the possession and dissemination of child abuse material, and was sentenced to a total of three years and six months’ imprisonment, including a non-parole period of two years and one month.

According to court documents, he took his computer to a repair technician who discovered it contained child abuse material in March 2021.

READ ALSO Two Griffith police officers hospitalised and man arrested after forced entry of house on fire in Cedar Crescent

Police began an investigation that revealed the Leeton man was in a sexual relationship with a co-offender referred to in court documents as “Mr Harrison”, and that the pair exchanged child abuse material depicting prepubescent males. Thousands of images of child abuse material were found on Chesworth’s phone.

At this time, police also discovered videos and images of Chesworth participating in sexual acts with Mr Harrison’s dog.

An unregistered air rifle and two bags of methylamphetamine were also found by police at his home.

At its ordinary monthly meeting on 27 July, 2022, Leeton Shire Council passed a motion to revoke the “2019 Leeton Citizen of the Year title from recipient”, without naming him.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Riverina news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riverina stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.