Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

Street star rape evidence 'neutral'

Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell has pleaded not guilty to alleged child sex offences

A doctor who examined the girl allegedly raped by Coronation Street star Michael Le Vell agreed her findings did not prove child sex abuse had taken place.

Dr Louise O'Connor agreed with a second expert that the medical findings of the examination of the girl were "neutral and neither support or refute the allegations".

Le Vell is accused at Manchester Crown Court of a series of sex assaults against the youngster. The actor, 48, who plays Kevin Webster in the ITV soap, is facing 12 charges - five counts of rape, three of indecent assault, two counts of sexual activity with a child, and two of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.

Le Vell, on trial under his real name of Michael Turner, denies the offences saying they are "an absolute pack of lies".

Dr O'Connor said she examined the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, at the St Mary's Sexual Assault Centre in Manchester in October 2011, when the allegations were made to police.

The girl claims to have been sexually abused and raped four times, including from a young age, but Dr O'Connor said there were no injuries to the girl's hymen. However, Dr O'Connor told the jury that sometimes children who are abused have no understanding of full penetrative sex and may confuse this with partial penetration, which may not damage the hymen.

Eleanor Laws QC, prosecuting, asked the witness: "What do you say about your findings in relation to her allegations?"

Dr O'Connor replied: "Having no injuries certainly does not negate any of those allegations - a significant number of children and young people who make allegations of assault and come to us to be examined a significant number will not have any injuries."

The jury has heard that, in this case, the girl was examined two years after the last alleged episode of abuse.

Dr O'Connor said: "The timing of an examination is most important in dating injuries. Injuries heal up quickly, certain injuries persist. A full tear of the hymen, those tend to persist." The witness said if the girl had been subjected to full penetrative sex it would "likely" cause injury to her hymen but it could have caused a "partial tear" that had healed.

Dr O'Connor agreed with the conclusions of a second expert, Dr Victoria Aziz, that full penile penetration could be excluded in this case but partial penetration could not and that the results of the examination neither supported nor negated the girl's allegations.

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