Michael Le Vell, best known as Coronation Street character Kevin Webster, has been found not guilty of child sex offences following a trial at Manchester Crown Court.
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Le Vell, tried under his real name of Michael Turner, was acquitted of all twelve charges, including five counts of rape, three counts of sexual assault, two counts of sexual activity with a child and two counts of causing a child to engage in sexual activity. The jury took just over 4 hours to find him not guilty of all charges.
The complainant, now aged 17, told the jury that Le Vell put a teddy bear over her mouth whilst he raped her telling her he was “just getting rid of all the evil and bad inside me”. Her account was labelled inconsistent, unbelievable and lacking detail by defence barrister Alisdair Williamson. Reportedly there was no physical injuries to the complainant.
During the trial the jury heard personal details of Le Vell’s private life, including Le Vell’s alcohol addiction, one-night-stands and an affair.
Le Vell gave evidence during the trial and has always denied the allegations. He told the jury he was “fighting for his life”. Eleanor Laws QC, prosecuting, cross-examined Le Vell on his need to be persuasive in giving evidence, and compared it to an acting job. Le Vell replied:
“It’s nothing like an acting job. You never get put in a position like this. They never teach you to be here and face what I have been faced with for the last two years. No one can teach you that.
I’m fighting for my life.”
Of course it was not up to Le Vell to persuade the jury of his innocence. The burden of proof remains on the prosecution; it is up to them to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt, so that the jury are sure of guilt. If the jury are not sure, they will acquit, as they have done in Le Vell’s case.
Le Vell is expected to return to ITV later this year.