Former top lobbyist Daran Hill pleads guilty to five offences relating to indecent images of children
The former head of a prominent Welsh lobbying company has pleaded guilty at Cardiff Magistrates Court to five offences relating to the possession and distribution of indecent images of children.
Daran Hill, 52, was the founder and managing director of Positif Politics before stepping down two years ago.
He admitted two charges of distributing indecent images of children via WhatsApp, the first consisting of five Category A images of children, the most serious category and the second also of five indecent images,
In addition he pleaded guilty of making eight Category A, four Category B and 50 Category C images.
Hill was released on bail on condition that he lives at an address in Swansea, that he has no contact with children under the age of 18 and that his use of computers and the internet is strictly controlled.
He was sent to Cardiff Crown Court for sentence and will appear there on June 6.
Positif Politics quickly became the largest public affairs company in Wales, with clients in the public, private and third sectors.
A familiar figure in and around the Senedd, Hill was director of the Yes for Wales campaign at the time of the devolution referendum in 1997 that led to the establishment of what is now the Senedd.
Originally from Port Talbot, he studied at Cardiff University and became an activist in the National Union of Students.
Following his involvement with the referendum campaign, he became one of the best known political commentators in Wales, writing articles and making frequent appearances on TV and radio.
He socialised with politicians and those who worked for them, and was for a time an adviser to the Welsh Conservative Party.
Positif Politics was founded by Hill in 2006 and he remained a director until September 2021, when he resigned. He subsequently sold his stake in the company to some of its employees, who took it over in a management buy-out.
Hill was initially the majority shareholder in Positif Politics but a document filed to Companies House stated that he ceased to be a person with significant control and resigned as a director in September 2021.
He subsequently lived for a time in Kent, where he advertised his services as a proofreader.
The charges he has now pleaded guilty to followed a long investigation undertaken by the National Crime Agency.
Some Welsh news outlets became aware that Hill had been arrested in 2021, but were advised by their lawyers not to report that unless and until he was charged.
First arrested in August 2021, Hill was charged with the five offences on April 24 2023.
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Why did lawyers advise against publishing the *fact* that he had been arrested? I assume it was something for which there was proof?
It is because of privacy law. Normally prior to charge a person has a ‘reasonable expectation of privacy’ – after all an arrested person my not be eventually charged. He was charged and at that point he was publicly named.
Thank you. That does explain a lot. However, is a ‘reasonable expectation of privacy’ an absolute right? For instance, would there not be a public interest defence to publication?