Santa parade boss quits over child sex pics

CASSANDRA POKONEY
Last updated 12:21 11/06/2014

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The disgraced coordinator of the Southland Santa Parade has resigned after being convicted for having child sex images.

Robert John Ashby, 50, was sentenced to 400 hours' community work yesterday after admitting three charges of possessing objectionable publications, namely digital file images and a video.

Ashby maintains the charges were the result of an ''innocent mistake'' and while he accepted they were on his computer, said they were not there through his own intent.

Southland Christmas Parade Charitable Trust chairman Fred Tulett said Ashby told the trust of the conviction last night and resigned immediately.

The resignation was immediately accepted, he said.

Ashby was coordinator of the parade but he was not directly involved with parade participants, Tulett said.

His responsibilities mainly covered fundraising efforts, organising legal requirements, and organising volunteers, he said.

The trust had ''put a lot of work'' into the recruitment of the coordinator and making sure they had the right person in the role, but that process had not involved police checks, he said.

The trust would start the recruitment process for a new coordinator in the next few weeks.

Tulett did not know if police checks would be introduced.

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