Prosecutor: No star witch-hunt

One of the Crown Prosecution Service's top prosecutors has denied there is a "celebrity witch-hunt" after Corrie actor Michael Le Vell was cleared of child sex abuse charges. Le Vell's colleagues have talked of their delight at his acquittal.

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Ex-Corrie star on Le Vell: 'This whole thing is a tragedy'

Former Coronation Street actor Kevin Kennedy told This Morning he was "delighted" that Michael Le Vell had been cleared of child sex charges, but stressed, "This whole thing is a tragedy."

"There are no winners in this," Kennedy, who played Curly Watts in the soap, said. "Yes, Michael got his freedom and I'm very pleased about that, but no one benefits from this - I think it should never have got to this stage in the first place."

Kevin Kennedy, who played Curly Watts on Coronation Street, speaks to This Morning. Credit: ITV/This Morning

When asked what the trial has done to his friend, Kennedy said: "I think the damage is immeasurable, and it's going to take time... Once he's got over the elation of his liberty given back to him, there's going to be a time where he's going to sit down and he's going to have to heal."


Prosecutor denies 'witch-hunt' after Le Vell acquittal

A top prosecutor has denied there is a "celebrity witch-hunt" in the wake of the acquittal of Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell on child sex abuse charges.

Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell smiles with his sister Sue after he was cleared of all charges. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Nazir Afzal, the Crown Prosecution Service national lead on child sexual exploitation, said "nobody should be above the law" and it that is the Crown's job to look at evidence, follow it wherever it may go and then present it.

Speaking at a child sexual exploitation conference in Blackburn, Mr Afzal stressed that each case was assessed on its own merits, regardless of whether a suspect had a high public profile.

Corrie remarks on Le Vell's future 'all you need to know'

Daybreak's entertainment editor Richard Arnold said, "It says all you need to know" about the support offered to Michael Le Vell by Coronation Street's cast and bosses that a statement has already been released discussing his future on the show.

"He's very much part of that company of players on the Street - it's them against the world," Arnold said. "It's no wonder that they've rallied around him while this has all been going on."

Former Corrie star 'over the moon' at Le Vell verdict

Former Coronation Street actor Bruce Jones said he was "absolutely over the moon" that Michael Le Vell had walked away from court a free man.

Jones, who played Les Battersby for 10 years on the show, told Daybreak, "I never believed this in the first place."

Asked what advice he would give his friend now, Jones said: "I think a holiday is the right thing - go away now, sit down and think ... then go and speak to ITV, Granada, and get your life back on track now Michael.

"We want to see you back in Coronation Street as Kevin again."


CPS 'respects' not guilty verdicts in Le Vell trial

This case was reviewed in great detail, and the evidence subject to careful scrutiny before a decision was taken to prosecute.

On the basis of the reviews the CPS concluded that there was sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction.

As these were very serious allegations of child sexual abuse it therefore followed that it was in the public interest to place that evidence before a jury at court.

Whilst the CPS needs to consider if a conviction is realistic, the jury needs to be sure that the defendant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

The jury have had an opportunity over the course of the trial to hear and fully consider both the prosecution and the defence cases.

It is for the jury to determine whether a defendant is guilty or not and we of course respect the verdicts they have reached today.

– Crown Prosecution Service statement
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