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Former band chairman convicted of child sexual activity

James Bryant has been convicted of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Bristol Crown Court
  The case was heard at Bristol Crown Court

As has been reported in local, regional and national newspapers, James Bryant, a former Chairman and Band Manager of Filton Concert Brass Band has been convicted of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

The case was held at Bristol Crown Court, where Bryant, aged 40, had denied 12 charges of sexual activity with a child, but admitted three charges of sexual activity with a child.

Convicted

The jury convicted him of all counts barring one charge of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, three of sexual activity with a child and the sexual assault of a woman.

The Recorder of Bristol His Honour Judge Peter Blair QC, remanded Bryant, who was a member of the Salvation Army and worked for the National Crime Agency, in custody pending a probation report prior to sentencing on July 8th.

National Crime Agency

Mr Bryant was suspended from the National Crime Agency.

In a statement they said: "In February 2017, upon being informed by Avon and Somerset Police of an allegation against Bryant, the NCA's Professional Standards Unit launched an investigation and Bryant was suspended. He remained suspended until he left the Agency on 12th May 2017."

Filton Concert Band statement

Filton Concert Brass Band has issued the following statement to 4BR:

"Following proceedings at Bristol Crown Court, James Bryant, former Chairman and Band Manager of Filton Concert Brass, was found guilty of sexual activity with a child.

This was a historical case relating to a girl who had no involvement with the band.

The band understands that the offences were committed prior to Mr Bryant joining the organisation. He resigned from the position of Chairman and severed all links with the band in March 2020.

The band stresses that no committee members or band personnel had any knowledge of the offences committed by Mr Bryant until after the commencement of the court trial, this being some time after Mr Bryant had severed his links with the band.

Filton Concert brass takes the application of safeguarding very seriously, having a number of DBS approved members, members that have received Brass Band specific training with BBE, plus others having received SafeGuarding training through their employment, never-the-less: In light of recent events the committee will be undertaking a full review of the bands SafeGuarding measures.

The measures the band has in place, and any we add to as a result of this review, demonstrate the importance the band has, and continues to place on safeguarding its members of any age.

The band is resolved to continue to ensure the safety of all members and ensures that the organisation will continue to contribute positively to its members and the surrounding community.

Due to the serious nature of this case, Mr Bryant will not be eligible for any future involvement with Filton Concert Brass Band."

Brass Bands England statement

In responding to the news Brass Bands England also issued a statement in which they said: "Brass Bands England (BBE) would like to take this opportunity to commend the management of Filton Concert Brass on their handling of this very sensitive situation.

The band has engaged fully with the legal process and received support throughout from the safeguarding team at BBE. Brass Bands England also wishes to pass our deepest sympathies to the victims in this tragic case and to everyone else that cases such as this inevitably have a negative impact on."

Extremely concerning

In addition, BBE Chief Executive Officer, Kenneth Crookston, commented: "Although extremely concerning, this case serves as an important reminder to bands to ensure that they have robust safeguarding measures in place.

Sadly, issues like these highlight that, whilst individuals such as this do exist in society, it remains important for bands to be diligent in performing checks and following good practice in recruitment and supervision.

There is a legal obligation for every band to have both a safeguarding policy and knowledge and understanding across the organisation of how to implement it.

As banding begins to resume, now is a good time for bands to revisit their policies and procedures to ensure that you are as well prepared for any eventuality as you can be."

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