Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Jury sent out in Le Vell rape case

Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell denies all the charges
Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell denies all the charges

The jury in the trial of Coronation Street's Michael Le Vell has been told it must decide if the alleged victim is telling the truth or set out to "quite literally destroy the life" of the actor.

The eight women and four male jurors were sent out to consider their verdicts after being told by Judge Michael Henshell that their assessment of the alleged victim was "critical in this case."

Le Vell, 48, who has played garage mechanic Kevin Webster in the ITV1 soap for 30 years, is accused of sexually assaulting and raping the youngster, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

The actor, a father of two, sat listening to final legal submissions as his family members watched from the public gallery beside press benches packed with reporters at Manchester Crown Court.

Le Vell, being tried under his real name of Michael Turner, denies 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. The jury was sent home and will return at 10.30am to resume its deliberations.

Earlier Eleanor Laws QC, prosecuting, told the jury the "courage" of the alleged sex abuse victim must be marked by guilty verdicts if she was telling the truth. His accuser had no reason to lie and the only explanation for her allegations was that it was the "uncomfortable truth", Miss Laws said.

Alisdair Williamson then gave the closing speech for the defence, telling jurors the girl's claims were "inconsistent, incoherent and unbelievable."

He began by saying it was a "strange case of child rape" without any evidence of blood or semen or injuries to the alleged victim. "Welcome to the prosecution's hall of mirrors," he told the jury. "Where up is down and left is right."

"You are going to throw a man's life away? You are going to cast him to the outer darkness of being a child rapist?" Mr Williamson continued.

"Where is the consistency, the solidity of evidence on which you are going to be sure? Not there, simply not there."

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