Le Vell's accuser 'not twisted'
The "courage" of the alleged sex abuse victim of Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell must be marked by guilty verdicts if she was telling the truth, jurors have been told.
His accuser had no reason to lie and the only explanation for her allegations was that it was the "uncomfortable truth", the court heard.
Delivering her closing speech, prosecutor Eleanor Laws QC urged the jury of eight women and four men to concentrate closely on the evidence of the alleged victim.
"You saw her as bubbly, lovely, naive, so lovely," she said. "She was not twisted."
The actor, 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.
Miss Laws told the jury: "You are the most important people in the courtroom.
"It is you who decide the facts. At the end of the day it is your collective decision that is important."
Asking jurors to disregard media reports, she said: "Concentrate on what you do know because you, members of the jury, actually saw (the alleged victim) give evidence. No-one else in the courtroom did apart from the judge and barristers."
She said they may have "strong feelings" about these type of allegations.
"For example, before we started this trial, some of you may have thought there seems to be a lot of prosecutions of celebrities," she said. "Is there some kind of witch-hunt? Has the world gone mad?'
"No-one likes to think that someone they liked or admired has done anything like this."
She said they may also think that it was "such an easy allegation to make" but "difficult to defend". But crimes like this did take place and could go undetected for years, she said. Miss Laws continued: "Look very carefully at (the alleged victim's) evidence and cast your mind to this time last week when you were looking at her and listening to her evidence.
"What was your reaction? That is what counts. Nothing more, nothing less.
"Was she a wicked, convincing liar or did you sit there and think to yourself that she was telling the truth because that is all she can do?"
She said Le Vell had only come up with one reason for the allegations and that was revenge against him.
That explanation was "absurd", said the barrister, and "just does not hold water".
Miss Laws said no-one could say that because the defendant was an alcoholic and had extra-marital affairs meant that he was a child abuser. But he was "a troubled man" who committed the offences when in drink, she said.
Miss Laws said: "Bear in mind what this witness has put herself through over a long period of time.
"What has she got to gain from all of that? Absolutely nothing, unless it is the truth and that is what she wants to tell you.
"If you are sure that she is telling the truth and not lying, then it is your duty to mark her courage from the witness box with convictions."
Alisdair Williamson then gave the closing speech for the defence. Addressing the eight women and four men on the jury directly, 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.
Mr Williamson suggested the girl had given differing accounts of the frequency and details of the alleged abuse to her mother, her friends and to the police.
"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."
Mr Williamson said the defendant was a "drunk, bad husband and inadequate father" whose behaviour was sometimes "terrible", but he is not a child rapist.
"Mr Turner drinks a lot, he has his demons. What's that supposed to mean?" he asked.
"He has troubles. What's that supposed to mean?
"That's all the Crown can come up with for a motive."
Summing up the trial, Judge Michael Henshell said both Le Vell and the alleged victim were distressed at times as they gave evidence.
But he told them: "Do not allow sympathy to cloud your judgment for either side."