JURORS in the trial of veteran DJ 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 – charged with 13 indecent assaults and one sexual assault – judge Anthony Leonard told jurors at London’s Southwark Crown Court to forget the DJ’s fame as they deliberated their verdicts.
He 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 on Thursday of two counts of rape and four charges of indecent assault after 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.
Mr Leonard told jurors they had to ignore those cases.
“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, 68, is on trial under his birth name, David Griffin, charged with indecently assaulting ten women and sexually assaulting one other in incidents dating back to 1976.
He denies all the charges, which relate to allegations from his time as a DJ with the BBC and Classic Gold radio, while appearing on Top of the Pops and when starring in panto.
The judge reminded jurors the majority of the alleged victims came forward after Travis’s initial arrest had been 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 “bandwagon” as they were the first to come forward, although jurors could decide the others had done so 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 judge added: “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 workplace 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 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 workplace.”
The trial was adjourned until Monday, when the judge will continue summing up, before sending the jury out to deliberate its verdicts.
Clegg defends CPS after Roache is cleared
Nick Clegg has mounted a robust defence of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), after William Roache was cleared of alleged sex offences.
The Deputy Prime Minister said it was right that cases were played out in court when there was a “reasonable chance” of a conviction. Roache, 81, who plays Ken Barlow in Coronation Street, was found not guilty of two counts of rape and four counts of indecent assault.
Nazir Afzal, of the CPS North West, insisted the case had been “treated like any other”. He said: “What mattered were the allegations and the evidence and nothing else, and we fully respect the decisions of the jury.”
Liberal Democrat leader Mr Clegg said: “People are saying, why on earth has this case been brought … but the CPS have got a really, really difficult job. Just imagine if they were not taking cases forward where really serious allegations were made.”
He added: “But I will always defend the right of the CPS to say, look, this is a case of sufficient seriousness, we think there is sufficient evidence that there is a reasonable chance of this being followed through to a conviction – it should now be played out in court.”