Chris Killick: who is the registered sex offender running as a candidate in Hartlepool by-election 2021?
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One of the 16 candidates standing in the Hartlepool by-election is a convicted sex offender who was found guilty of voyeurism last year.
Chris Killick, 41, from London is standing as an independent candidate in the by-election.
He has said that he originally planned to tell the electorate about this past, but didn’t because he “got a bit frightened”.
He said: "I do understand how it will be difficult for some people, perhaps everyone, to trust me.
What did Chris Killick do?
Killick was initially arrested on suspicion of rape in 2015 but the case was dropped due to lack of evidence, after a woman woke up next to him in a hotel room but couldn’t remember how she’d got there.
The woman alleged that Killich had drugged and raped her.
Police dropped the rape charge, but during their investigation discovered a minute-long video of Hunt naked in the hotel bed.
Killich admitted taking the video for sexual gratification but said he did not think this was illegal.
Prosecutors initially agreed, but Hunt campaigned for five years until a ruling in a separate case found that filming someone naked without their consent is always unlawful.
Following this decision Killick was re-arrested and charged with voyeurism, to which he pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay Hunt £5000 compensation.
He will also remain on the Sex Offenders register for five years.
He has since said that he has “had a lot of time to think about” what he did, describing it as “a mistake”.
But he added: “She alleged rape, but I believe it was consensual at the time and I still believe that.”
What is voyeurism?
Although the Court of Appeal ruling which paved the way for Killick’s prosecution came recently, voyeurism is a crime under Section 67 of the Sexual Offences Act of 2003.
It refers to the act of getting sexual pleasure from watching other people when they’re naked or engaged in sexual activity.
This can mean directly spying on victims in person, or deploying equipment covertly to record people without their knowledge.
Perpetrators who are found guilty can receive up to two years in prison, and be fined up to 700 per cent of their weekly income.
Who can stand to be an MP?
Since Killick’s conviction has come to light some have raised questions about the requirements to stand for parliament, and whether certain things should exclude someone from being able to stand.
Jess Phillips, Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley and shadow minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding, said that women have been warning about this “for years”.
She said: “We must look at standards in our elected officials. Some crimes should bar a person”
While anyone who has been convicted of an imprisonable offence is barred from standing to be a Police and Crime Commissioner, the same does not apply to MPs.
To stand as an MP, you need to be over 18 and a citizen of the UK, Commonwealth or Ireland.
Serving police officers, civil servants, members of the armed forces and judges are barred from becoming MPs, as is anyone who is bankrupt or currently serving more than a year’s prison sentence.