Sunday, 8 September 2013

Michael Le Vell: Man Held Over Facebook Post - Sky News

A man has been arrested over a Facebook post relating to the alleged victim in the trial of Coronation Street star Michael Le Vell.

The 45-year-old, from Trafford, Manchester, was detained for breaching the anonymity protection granted to victims of sexual offences.

He has been released on bail.

Under the Sexual Offences Amendment Act 1992, all victims of sex abuse are automatically granted anonymity for life.

On Thursday, a 28-year-old man was interviewed under caution in relation to a tweet that was sent about the alleged victim.

A day earlier, a 43-year-old man was arrested for a similar offence.

Greater Manchester Police said it had also been made aware of other similar comments on social media sites, and was investigating.

Michael Le Vell court case
The Michael Le Vell case has attracted huge media interest

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Bridge said: "This case has attracted huge interest and we have seen enormous amounts of comment and personal opinion across social media.

"I want to be explicitly clear - victims of sexual abuse, whether the offences are alleged or proven, are automatically granted anonymity for life and identifying such victims, either deliberately or inadvertently, is a criminal offence.

"I also want to stress that ignorance of the law is not a defence and we take these matters very seriously.

"We are monitoring social networks and people are reporting matters to us, so it is simply not worth the risk."

Soap star Le Vell, who has played garage mechanic Kevin Webster in the ITV1 soap for 30 years, is being tried under his real name Michael Turner at Manchester Crown Court.

He is accused of sexually assaulting and raping a young girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Le Vell, 48, denies five counts of rape, three of indecent assault, two counts of sexual activity with a child and two of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.

Le Vell's case will be back in court on Monday morning when closing speeches from barristers will take place, the judge will sum up the trial and the jury is expected to retire to consider its verdicts.

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