Jury sworn in for rape trial of boys aged 10 and 11

A jury was sworn in today to try two of the youngest boys to be charged with rape.

The trial at the Old Bailey was due to open today but the judge told the jury of six men and six women that the case was being adjourned to tomorrow.

Mr Justice Saunders said: "This case with two very young defendants brings with it unique difficulties and problems."

The boys, aged 11 and 10, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, face two charges each of rape and two charges each of attempted rape of a child under 13.

They were both 10 when they were accused of rape by an eight-year-old girl last October in Hayes, west London.

The boys looked tiny sitting in the well of the court with their mothers as the jury was empanelled. The judge and lawyers in the case dispensed with their robes and wigs.

The jury was told that sitting hours had been shortened and other steps taken because the defendants were so young.

The judge, wearing a dark grey suit, blue shirt and purple tie, sat where the court clerk normally sits so he was on the same level as the boys.

The three female barristers wore smart black suits.