Saturday 19 January 2019

By David Mercer and Neil Lancefield, Press Association

By David Mercer and Neil Lancefield, Press Association

Jurors in the indecent assault trial of former Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis have been told they can return a majority verdict after failing to reach a unanimous agreement for a third day.

Prosecutors claim the ex-Top Of The Pops presenter was an "opportunist" who acted as if he had the "perfect right" to grope young women.

He is accused of two counts of indecent assault and one of sexual assault, with the allegations dating back to the 1990s when he was starring in panto, while the most recent was said to have happened during an interview with a journalist at his home in 2008.

The jury of six men and six women was told by Judge Anthony Leonard QC today that a majority verdict can now be returned, on which at least 10 of them agree.

"Try and reach a verdict on which you all agree", he said.

"If you are not able to do so, I can accept a verdict on which 10 of you agree."

Travis, 69, who is on trial under his real name, David Griffin, 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 - after a jury was unable to reach verdicts on them at a trial earlier this year.

He has also pleaded not guilty to an additional count of indecent assault alleged to have taken place on January 17 1995 on a female television personality working on the Mrs Merton Show.

Prosecutors claim Travis approached the woman - then working as part of the production crew - as she stood smoking in the corridor and put his hands on her chest for at least 10-15 seconds until she ran away.

The first charge relates to a woman who was working on a production of Aladdin.

The alleged victim, 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 walking past - and escape, the court heard.

Jurors were told the final charge involves an accusation that Travis groped a female journalist, allegedly touching her chest and holding his hands there for several seconds.

But, giving his own evidence, the veteran DJ denied the claims, telling jurors the women had been lying.

He also called on a host of other defence witnesses, which heard him described as the "perfect gentleman" rather than a sexual predator.

As he summed up the evidence on Wednesday, Judge Leonard told the jury to forget about allegations against other celebrities in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal as they deliberate their verdicts.

He also told them to "not allow yourselves to become overawed or deflated by the interest this case has attracted".

"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 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 told jurors - who retired to deliberate their verdicts on Thursday lunchtime - the trial was not a place for jurors to debate the changing attitudes to sexual offences in the workplace.

Travis, of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, has been accompanied to court by Marianne, his wife of more than 40 years.

Jurors were told to resume their deliberations tomorrow morning.


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