Rethink that led Coronation St star to be charged with rape
Decision to prosecute Michael Le Vell taken by same QC who charged Rebekah Brooks
CORONATION STREET actor Michael Le Vell has been charged with a series of child sex offences, including rape, following the intervention of Alison Levitt, QC, the Crown Prosecution Service lawyer who controversially recommended charging Rebekah Brooks and her husband Charlie Brooks over the News of the World phone hacking scandal.
Le Vell - whose real name is Michael Turner - was first arrested in 2011 over the sex claims, which date back to 2001. But after a three-month investigation the matter was dropped because there did not appear to be enough evidence to charge him. At the time the actor said he was "delighted" by the decision and had been "completely exonerated".
Now Levitt, the principal legal adviser to Director of Public Prosecutions Kier Starmer, has reviewed the file and overturned the original decision of the CPS. "I have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to charge [Le Vell] with a number of sexual offences."
As a result the actor has been charged with 19 offences, allegedly committed between 2001 and 2010. He will appear before magistrates in Manchester in two weeks’ time.
Le Vell, who has played garage-owner Kevin Webster in the soap opera since 1983, was immediately axed by the long-running ITV soap. "Scriptwriters were today re-writing story lines to exclude the character from later episodes," said the Evening Standard.
The actor vowed today to clear his name, saying: “I am innocent of these charges and intend to fight them vigorously.”
CPS lawyer Levitt made headlines last year when she recommended prosecuting the former Sun and News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks over the phone hacking scandal. Brooks and several others, including her husband, now face charges of perverting the course of justice.
It was suggested that Levitt's decision might have been motivated by the fact that she had been the subject of a NotW story in 2007 that revealed she had an affair with a peer.