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Travis 'not a scapegoat for Savile'


DJ Dave Lee Travis arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London, where he is accused of 13 counts of indecent assault and one count of sexual assault in 2008

DJ Dave Lee Travis arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London, where he is accused of 13 counts of indecent assault and one count of sexual assault in 2008

DJ Dave Lee Travis arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London, where he is accused of 13 counts of indecent assault and one count of sexual assault in 2008

Jurors should not find veteran disc jockey Dave Lee Travis guilty of sex offences because he has been used as a scapegoat for Jimmy Savile's crimes, his defence barrister has told a court.

Concluding his closing speech, Stephen Vullo said Travis was the victim of a "witch hunt" and directed jurors to acquit the former BBC presenter of the 13 indecent assault charges and one sexual assault charge he is accused of.

Mr Vullo told jurors at London's Southwark Crown Court: "Police and the authorities missed Jimmy Savile, they missed him.

"In any society when something goes wrong, a harvest fails, there is a reaction, an understandable reaction.

"Nobody wants sexual predators to get away with their crimes.

"Everybody wants them to be brought to justice but there is no justice whatsoever in overreaction, bringing a 68-year-old man of impeccable character to this court and muddying his name to make us feel better about Jimmy Savile.

"It wouldn't right that wrong."

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.

Mr Vullo said Travis's "reputation is already finished".

He said the "person who started this" was the first woman who went to police. She claimed she had been assaulted by Travis in his Radio 1 studio but the barrister said this was not true.

He told jurors: "She lied to you at length and in detail.

"It's not unfair for me to say at this stage that that's where the witch hunt begins. It began with a total lie."

Mr Vullo added: "It's so unfair to have an accusation made against you many years after the incident."

The barrister said although the prosecution say that none of the alleged victims are motivated by money or fame, "we just don't know what people are going to do after this case has finished".

Referring to the four assaults on the indictment alleged to have taken place while Travis worked at Classic Gold Radio in the early 2000s, Mr Vullo said it had been "blown out of all proportion".

One of the women who claims to have been groped by Travis there previously told jurors she had "gone ballistic" the third and final time it allegedly happened, but Mr Vullo said that while Travis admits they fell out, he did not assault her.

Mr Vullo said: "Mr Griffin accepts he maybe touched her leg because he was close to her in an argument.

"She went ballistic and went mad and people remember that happening and that's what people remember, but not how she says.

"Nobody has given evidence of having received a complaint from her that he put his 'hand up my skirt and in my knickers'."

He said the woman was known for particularly liking her personal space while he said of Travis: "He is as has been described - a big cuddly bear who is very tactile."

Earlier, prosecutor Miranda Moore QC presented her closing speech, asking jurors to consider whether the BBC was a "utopia" when Travis worked there.

She said: "Was the BBC a utopia where women were free from unwanted attention, where the DJs behaved - apart from Savile. Where there were no rumours of untoward behaviour - apart from Savile? Where every complaint was dealt with properly?"

Ms Moore said the trial had heard from witnesses who said this was not the case and told the jury of eight women and four men to "bring your scepticism" to the case.

"This utopia that was the BBC where no girls ever felt that they were being sexually harrassed or anything was untoward," she said.

"I'm sorry, ladies and gentlemen, but my expression to that is 'Oh please...'."

Ms Moore said jurors would not need to try the case based on the "morality" of the 70s and 80s as Travis is not claiming as his defence that he carried out the assaults but they were acceptable then.

"He is not saying that now," Ms Moore said.

Paraphrasing Travis, she told jurors his case is: "I know I may have said that touching women's breasts was considered flirtatious in the 70s.

"It may have been by some people but not by me. I never did. I didn't consider it a joke, I don't consider it flirtatious. I did not do it."

She told jurors the case was a "criminal trial and not a feminist rant by me as to a culture that existed at a particular point of time that some of us lived through".

She also told jurors that although the courts regularly deal with more "horrific cases", it was not their job to "judge degrees of guilt" but to decide whether or not Travis committed each of the offences.

Referring to the most recent alleged assault, where it is claimed Travis grabbed a journalist's breasts as if to check their size, Ms Moore said it sounded like a Carry On film, but this did not mean it was not serious.

Ms Moore told jurors to forget about Travis's fame and treat him as a "normal member of the public, no more nor less".

"His celebrity might have given him protection in the past," she said.

Ms Moore branded him a "dirty old man" and directed jurors to find Travis guilty, "no matter how sad it might be that somebody at this stage of their career has to go through this".

The trial was adjourned to tomorrow when Judge Anthony Leonard will sum the case up.