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Jury told to ignore celebrity cases

Jurors trying the case of veteran DJ Dave Lee Travis should forget about allegations against other celebrities in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal as they deliberate their verdicts, a judge has said.

Beginning to sum up the former Top Of The Pops presenter's assault case at London's Southwark Crown Court, Judge Anthony Leonard also told jurors to "not allow yourselves to become overawed or deflated by the interest this case has attracted".

He said the allegations relating to two indecent assault charges and one sexual assault charge against Travis - on trial under his real name, David Griffin - dated back to a "long time ago, and some of them a very long time ago", and therefore they should understand if both the defendant and witnesses sometimes struggled to recall events.

He said the allegations also go back to when the former Radio 1 presenter, who denies the offences, had a "full agenda of appearances spread across the country".

"You are trying allegations of historical sexual assaults against someone who has been in the public eye for many years," the judge said. "The fact that the defendant is a well known media personality does not change the rules of this case."

Referring to the fact that the investigation into Travis, 69, is part of Operation Yewtree, the inquiry set up two years ago in the wake of the Savile scandal, the judge said: "There is no such thing as guilt or innocence by association.

"It follows that you will try this defendant on the evidence in this case and ignore as irrelevant any allegations which have been made against others or the results of trials they have faced."

Judge Leonard also said the trial was not a place for jurors to debate the changing attitudes to sexual offences in the workplace.

The defendant is facing a retrial on two counts, one of indecent assault of a woman between November 1 1990 and January 31 1991, and another of sexual assault on a different woman between June 1 2008 and November 30 2008 - on which a jury was unable to reach verdicts at a trial earlier this year.

Travis, of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, has also pleaded not guilty to an additional count of indecent assault alleged to have taken place on January 17 1995.

The first charge against Travis relates to a woman who was working on a production of Aladdin in which Travis was starring.

The woman, who was in her 20s at the time, claimed the DJ assaulted her while they were alone in his dressing room, holding the door closed as he put his hand inside her trousers.

She managed to prise open the door to the corridor - where comedy stars the Chuckle Brothers were standing - and escape, the court heard.

The second charge involves an alleged assault by Travis on a young woman working on the Mrs Merton Show.

Prosecutors claim Travis approached the woman in the corridor where she was smoking and put his hands on her chest for at least 10-15 seconds until she ran away.

In a third count, Travis is accused of groping a female journalist when she went to his home to interview him.

He is alleged to have touched her chest, holding his hands there for several seconds, the court heard.

Earlier, Travis's defence barrister said he had been described during the trial as the "perfect gentleman" and nothing like the "sleazy, predatory, opportunist" prosecutors have accused him of being.

Making his closing speech, Stephen Vullo QC also said the former star's career was "finished".

"He is financially ruined. His reputation has been totally ruined," he added.

Mr Vullo urged jurors to focus on the fact that so many women have come forward by their own accord to defend the former broadcaster.

"The Crown say that Mr Griffin has a propensity to commit sexual assaults," the barrister said.

"Somebody with a propensity throughout his whole life to act in a sleazy, predatory way would struggle, wouldn't they, to bring the type of character evidence that he has called before you."

The trial was adjourned until 10am tomorrow when Judge Leonard will continue summing up the case.


From Belfast Telegraph