Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Man held over Le Vell trial post

Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell denies sexually assaulting and raping a young girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons

A man has been arrested on suspicion of breaching online the regulations to protect the identity of the alleged victim of Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell.

The soap star, who has played garage mechanic Kevin Webster in the ITV1 soap for 30 years, is being tried under his real name Michael Turner at Manchester Crown Court. He is accused of sexually assaulting and raping a young girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Le Vell, 48, 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.

On Saturday, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said a 45-year-old man from Trafford had been arrested after a post was put on Facebook in relation to the ongoing trial.

He was detained on suspicion of breaching S(1) Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992 in relation to breaching the anonymity protection granted to victims of sexual offences. He has been released on bail. Under the Sexual Offences Amendment Act 1992, all victims of sex abuse are automatically granted anonymity for life.

On Thursday a 28-year-old man was interviewed under caution in relation to a tweet that was sent about the alleged victim, said a police spokesman. In Gloucester on Wednesday, a 43-year-old local man was arrested for a similar offence. GMP said it has also been made aware of similar comments on social media sites and is investigating.

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Bridge, said: "This case has attracted huge interest and we have seen enormous amounts of comment and personal opinion across social media.

"I want to be explicitly clear - victims of sexual abuse, whether the offences are alleged or proven, are automatically granted anonymity for life and identifying such victims, either deliberately or inadvertently is a criminal offence. I also want to stress that ignorance of the law is not a defence and we take these matters very seriously.

"This is the second person to be arrested and a third has been interviewed under caution since the start of the trial because of comments on social media. We are monitoring social networks and people are reporting matters to us so it is simply not worth the risk."

Le Vell's case will be back in court on Monday morning when closing speeches from barristers will take place, the judge will sum up the trial and the jury is expected to retire to consider its verdicts.

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