Veteran BBC broadcaster Stuart Hall has appeared in court to plead not guilty to charges of sexually abusing three girls.
The 82-year-old former star of It’s A Knockout gave his full name as James Stuart Hall when he was called before the bench for the brief hearing at Preston Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
Hall was asked by the clerk of the court if he understood that he faced three separate charges of indecent assault and if he wanted to enter a plea.
He replied: “Yes, I do. Not guilty to all three charges.”
Hall was allowed to sit down in the witness box while further details of the charges against him were given.
Joanne Cunliffe, prosecuting, said the case should be sent to Crown Court because the charges were too serious to be dealt with at magistrates’ court level.
Outlining the charges, Ms Cunliffe said Hall was alleged to have fondled the breast of one girl, then aged 16 or 17, between 1 September, 1974 and 31 December, 1974, in Blackpool.
On a second occasion, he is alleged to have molested a nine-year-old girl by touching. The offence is alleged to have happened some time between 1 January, 1983 and 31 December, 1983.
The third alleged indecent assault is that he kissed a 13-year-old girl on the lips, on an occasion between 1 July, 1984 and 27 September, 1984.
None of the alleged victims can be named for legal reasons.
Louise Straw, defending, told District Judge Peter Ward that there would be no objection to the case being sent to the Crown Court, where the matter would go before a jury.
Judge Ward granted Hall bail on condition that the accused lives at his home address, in Prestbury Road in Wilmslow, Cheshire, and that he has no unsupervised contact with children under the age of 17.
“You do understand that?” the judge asked Hall.
“Yes, of course,” the defendant replied.
Hall was bailed until 16 April for his next appearance, at Preston Crown Court.
Hall, who was first arrested on 5 December following an investigation by Lancashire Police, left the court building after the brief hearing, followed by television cameras, photographers and
Hall has been a familiar face and voice in British broadcasting for half a century and was last year made an OBE.
His eccentric and erudite football match summaries have made him a cult figure on BBC Radio 5 Live.
The BBC said that Hall would not be working at the corporation while he faced the abuse