Beginning to sum up the case involving the former Top of the Pops presenter at London’s Southwark Crown Court yesterday, 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 two indecent assault charges and one sexual assault charge against Travis – who is 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 jurors 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 after 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 changing attitudes to sexual offences in the workplace.
The defendant is facing a retrial on two counts, one of indecent assault on a woman between 1 November 1990 and 31 January 1991, and another of sexual assault on a woman in 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 in 1995.
The first charge relates to a woman who was working on a production of Aladdin in which Travis was starring. The second involves an alleged assault by Travis on a young woman working on the Mrs Merton Show. In a third count, he is accused of groping a journalist as she interviewed him at his home.
Earlier, Travis’s defence barrister said he had been described during the trial as the “perfect gentleman” and nothing like the “sleazy, predatory, opportunist” portrayed by prosecutors.
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 so many women had come forward to defend Travis.
“The Crown say that Mr Griffin has a propensity to commit sexual assaults,” Mr Vullo 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 continues today, when Judge Leonard will continue summing up.