Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Hall denying sex abuse charges

Broadcaster Stuart Hall pleaded not guilty to the sexual abuse of young girls

Veteran BBC broadcaster Stuart Hall has appeared in court to plead not guilty to the sexual abuse of three girls.

The 83-year-old former It's A Knockout star gave his full name as James Stuart Hall when he was called before the bench for the brief hearing at Preston Magistrates' Court.

Hall was asked by the clerk of the court if he understood that he faced three separate charges of indecent assault and if he wanted to enter a plea. He replied: "Yes I do. Not guilty to all three charges."

Hall was allowed to sit down in the witness box while further details of the charges were given.

Joanne Cunliffe, prosecuting, said the case should be sent to Crown Court because they are too serious to be dealt with at magistrates' court.

Outlining the charges she said Hall is alleged to have fondled the breast of one girl, then aged 16 or 17, between September 1, 1974 and December 31, 1974 in Blackpool. On a second occasion he is alleged to have molested a nine-year-old girl by touching some time between January 1, 1983 and December 31, 1983 and the third alleged indecent assault is that he kissed a 13-year-old girl on the lips, on an occasion between July 1, 1984 and September 27, 1984.

District Judge Ward granted Hall bail on condition that he lives at his home address in Prestbury Road in Wilmslow, Cheshire, and that he has no unsupervised contact with children under the age of 17.

Hall was bailed until April 16 for a next appearance at Preston Crown Court. Hall, who was first arrested on December 5 following an investigation by Lancashire Police, left the court building after the brief hearing, followed by TV cameras, photographers and reporters.

He has been a familiar face and voice in British broadcasting for half a century and was last year awarded an OBE. His eccentric and erudite football match summaries have made him a cult figure on BBC Radio 5 Live.

The BBC said Hall would not be working at the corporation while he faced the allegations.

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