Boys will not give evidence in rape trial

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The Independent Online

Two boys accused of raping an eight-year-old girl will not be giving evidence at their Old Bailey trial, their lawyers confirmed today.

The boys were both aged 10 when they were accused last year of assaulting the girl in Hayes, west London.

The prosecution closed its case today and the jury was told it would retire to consider verdicts on Friday.

The boys, one aged 11 and one aged 10, have been sitting near their mothers during the week-long trial.

They deny two counts of rape each and alternative charges of attempted rape.

Chetna Patel, defending the younger boy, told the court: "I do not intend to call him. The jury has a full transcript of his interview given at the time that he was arrested."

Linda Strudwick, for the older boy, said: "He will not be giving evidence."

But she read a letter from the boy's teacher which said the boy was a model pupil, doing his homework on time and not getting into trouble.

"He is a confident and happy boy," said the teacher. She added: "I can confirm he is not a bully. He has never exhibited sexual behaviour."

Mr Justice Saunders sent the boys and their mothers away while the jury heard closing speeches by the barristers.

He told the jury: "I have agreed the defendants and their mothers need not be present. I am concerned that they do not spend longer in a court atmosphere than they need to."

Rosina Cottage, prosecuting, told the jury the case depended on whether they believed what the little girl told police.

The defence barristers will address the jury tomorrow.