Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell has been proven “not guilty” of the 12 charges of child sex offences. But despite his acquittal of all charges, he has been burnt by the Jimmy Saville Hysteria. Cleared he may well be, but the popular actor from England’s longest running soap is still reeling from the ordeal.
The top Crown Prosecuting Service prosecutor Nazir Afzal has stated categorically that the growing list of celebrity names who are being investigated and charged with paedophile activities that include rape and sexual abuse of minors are not part of a “witch-hunt.”
But at the same time, Afzal maintains that no-one is “above the law.” Valid point, but despite assertions that this is not a targeted vendetta against the celebrity community caused by horrible accusations against the late national icon Jimmy Savile, it certainly appears that way.
Michael Le Vell is not quite as well known internationally as the other “shock” arrest this year of Australian artist, musician, and television personality Rolf Harris. The Two Little Boys singer was charged with similar offences as Le Vell.
And like Le Vell’s, these “events” occurred years ago, allegedly. Afzal has stated that there is no statute of limitations on these crimes and we agree. But only if there is a basis for the allegations. Initially, the CPS prosecutor had declined to proceed with charges against the Coronation Street actor.
He was overruled and Michael Le Vell was charged and released on bail pending his hearing. Michael has said that his experience was “life changing” and we believe him. During his trial, the prosecution attacked the essence of the man. Attempting to tear him completely down.
The first volley was fired at his occupation. The prosecution made the allegation that his job as an actor in the long running soap could not really be called acting. They went on to delve into his personal sex life, his drinking habits and even his intelligence level. The questioning was vindictive and nasty.
At the end of the trial in Manchester Crown Court, the jury found the accuser’s testimony: unbelievable, fractured, incoherent and inconsistent. There was no physical evidence nor was there any forensic evidence.
Michael Le Vell was cleared of all 12 child sex offence charges, but his life and how the public perceive him as an individual has been forever changed and tarred with that child sex brush. He has been burnt by the flame of the Jimmy Savile hysteria and his only real crime was to be a celebrity at a time when the the public are interested in seeing justice served for Savile’s sins.
This quest for revenge started by the shocking revelations after Savile’s death increased pressure on authorities to punish celebrities who commit child sex offences. While Le Vell had originally been taken off the list for “lack of evidence,” Alison Levitt QC, the DPP’s principal legal adviser reviewed the charges and decided that there was enough evidence to garner a prosecution.
Considering the verdict of not guilty for the 48 year-old actor, it appears that in all reality there was not enough evidence. There was just enough hysteria in the crown courts and their intent to sate the public interest in punishment that they allowed an innocent man’s name to be drug through the dirt.
That Michael Le Vell was burnt by the Jimmy Savile hysteria is beyond question. With the heightened awareness of the media, and its propensity to overreact to scandalous news, celebrities must be worried. It obviously never entered the Crown Prosecution’s head that the reason Le Vell was named was because of his celebrity status. As an actor seen constantly on the television, he has a bigger chance of someone pointing a finger and getting attention. Or conversely, someone with mental issues can fixate all their personal problems on a public figure. It remains to be seen just how many celebrities will be arrested in this ongoing witch hunt.
By Michael Smith