Belfast Telegraph

Roache 'irrelevant', DLT jury told

Jurors in the trial of veteran disc jockey Dave Lee Travis must disregard the verdicts of the William Roache trial and not be influenced by sex offence allegations against other celebrities, a judge has warned.

As he gave directions in the case against Travis - who is charged with 13 indecent assaults and one sexual assault - Judge Anthony Leonard told jurors to forget he is famous as they deliberate their verdicts.

The judge said: "You won't be unaware that the Jimmy Savile inquiry has spawned a number of inquiries into various people who were well known in the 1970s and beyond.

"During the course of this trial alone Rolf Harris has appeared here and of course Bill Roache has been tried elsewhere.

"The verdicts of the jury in the Bill Roache trial are all irrelevant to your consideration of this case.

"There is no such thing as guilty or innocence by association.

"You have no way of assessing the strengths or weaknesses of any other investigations but you can in this trial."

Coronation Street star Roache was found not guilty of two counts of rape and four charges of indecent assault following a trial at Preston Crown Court.

Australian entertainer Harris pleaded not guilty to 12 counts of indecent assault when he appeared in court last month.

Judge Leonard told jurors they must ignore those cases along with any media reports about Travis's well-publicised trial.

"You are trying allegations of historic sexual assaults against someone who, as I say, has been in the public eye for many years," he told them.

"The fact that the defendant is a well known personality does not change the rules of the way that you try this case.

"You must not allow yourselves to be overawed or deflated by the interest that this case has attracted."

Travis, now 68, is on trial under his birth name David Griffin charged with indecently assaulting 10 women and sexually assaulting another in incidents dating back to 1976 and the height of his fame.

He denies all the charges, which relate to allegations from when he was working as a BBC DJ, as a broadcaster with Classic Gold radio, while appearing on Top Of The Pops and when starring in panto.

Judge Leonard said the trial had looked back at a time when things were different.

He told jurors: "There is a lot that has been said during this trial about the attitudes to sexual offences in the 70s, 80s and perhaps the 90s and now.

"It may be that attitudes of men and women in the work place have changed and that behaviour once thought acceptable is no longer tolerated.

"It may be that more women are less likely to put up with such behaviour and they have more efficient channels to deal with them.

"But this trial is not the place for a debate about changing attitudes towards sexual offences committed in the work place."

Judge Leonard said many of the alleged offences "took place a long time ago".

"It follows that memories will fade or disappear altogether," he said.

"In addition, these offences are alleged to have happened at a time when the defendant had a very successful career and a full agenda of appearances spread across the country."

The judge told jurors that after he has summed up the case and sends them to deliberate their verdicts "you then decide what evidence you accept as truthful and accurate and what evidence you reject as unreliable.

"It is your judgment alone that counts."

Summing up the case, Judge Leonard reminded jurors at London's Southwark Crown Court that the majority of the alleged victims came forward after Travis's initial arrest was reported in the press.

Travis, known as DLT, was first arrested in 2012 after two alleged victims independently went to police with their claims.

He was investigated by officers from Scotland Yard's Operation Yewtree, which was prompted by abuse allegations involving the late Savile.

The judge said these two women could not be accused of jumping on the "band wagon" as they were the first to come forward, although jurors could decide the others had done if they chose not to believe them.

He added that some of the alleged victims told friends and family after the incident happened while others told nobody before coming forward in the past two years.

"The sooner the complaint was made to someone else, the stronger you may think the complaint becomes," he said.

The trial was adjourned to Monday February 10, when Judge Leonard will continue summing up before sending the jury out to deliberate its verdicts.


From Belfast Telegraph