Belfast Telegraph

Monday 30 March 2015

Starr in court challenge over probe

Freddie Starr has been arrested for a third time over allegations of sex offences
Freddie Starr has been arrested for a third time over allegations of sex offences

Comedian Freddie Starr is mounting a High Court challenge over the way prosecutors and the police have handled sex crime allegations against him.

Starr, 71, has been on bail since November 2012 and since then has been rearrested three times over claims made to detectives from Operation Yewtree, the inquiry launched after abuse claims against Jimmy Savile.

Today (February 12) his lawyer Dean Dunham said the performer had been told that a charge or release decision would be made by today at the latest, but instead he was bailed again until April.

Mr Dunham said: "Freddie Starr returned to the police station today as this was the date that he was re-bailed to. Whilst at the police station one further allegation was put to Mr Starr who responded accordingly. It should be noted that this further allegation is not new and that it was an allegation made to the police previously, who at the time took the decision not to question Mr Starr about the allegation.

"In January 2014 we wrote to the police and Crown Prosecution Service to express concern for the amount of time that the investigation was taking and to put them on notice that we believed that the decision to keep Mr Starr on bail was unlawful.

"Both the police and CPS responded by saying that a decision whether to charge or release would be forthcoming by 12 February 2014, at the latest. We are therefore disappointed that this has not transpired and as such Mr Starr will now be filing an application in the High Court for Judicial Review in relation to the conduct of the police and CPS."

Starr was first arrested in November 2012 over allegations linked to Savile, and has been arrested another three times over additional claims that have no link to the late DJ.

Scotland Yard did not name the performer, but released a statement that said: "Today 'Yewtree 2' was further arrested after returning to a police station to answer bail. The arrest relates to further allegations made to Operation Yewtree, which falls under the strand of the investigation we have termed 'others'. We are not prepared to discuss further."

The inquiry has been divided into three strands - claims involving Savile, those involving Savile and others, and those involving others.

Starr's first arrest was under the first strand, and his second, in April last year, third last month and fourth today were under 'others'.

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