I quickly want to mention the Dave Lee Travis trial. Travis, or Griffin to give him his real name, was cleared of a dozen charges of indecent assault a few weeks ago, but was retried for two which the jury couldn’t decide about. The prosecution also managed to find another charge to throw at him while he was being retried. He has been cleared of the two charges where no verdict was reached in the previous trial, and been found guilty of the new one as far as I can tell. By my count that means he’s been cleared of 14 charges and found guilty of one. Not a very good record for the prosecution.
But lets talk about the single charge of which he was found guilty. Travis was accused of groping a 22-year-old women smoking a cigarette in a corridor in 1995 while she was working on the Mrs. Merton show as a researcher. The victim is today 41, yes it happened 19 years ago, and is now apparently a tv personality, though we are not allowed to know her name. The victim told the court, “I absolutely knew he had some weird sexual thrill from this. I felt like I’d been punched, that feeling of being violated.” And she went on to explain how she was, “left shaking”.
Oddly, if you listen to this podcast (fast forward to about 38 mins) from 2012 in which Richard Herring chats with Lucy Porter, a 41-year-old, almost famous comedian, you will hear Ms Porter explain how she may have been groped by DLT while smoking a cigarette as she worked as a researcher on the Mrs Merton Show. Ms Porter worked on the show in 1995, when she was 22. It can’t however be the same incident or victim, because while the victim in court, “absolutely knew he had some weird sexual thrill from this”, the one on the podcast isn’t even quite sure whether it was intentional or not.
Make no mistake, it’s absolutely wrong to touch anyone sexually without consent, but I’m uneasy about anyone trying to fight a 20-year-old accusation without physical evidence, and these celebrity cases are now starting to look like a combination of hysteria and opportunism. It’s not doing real victims any favours if celebrities are being acquitted of bullshit accusations, or being convicted in cases that look to be ridiculously unsafe.