Leslie charges dropped as CPS receives 'further material'

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The Independent Online

All charges against TV presenter John Leslie were dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service today.

The 38-year-old former host of ITV's This Morning was told the news during a hearing at London's Southwark Crown Court.

Leslie, who has always maintained his innocence, had been accused of attacking the same woman twice between May 25 and May 28, 1997.

But the charges were dropped after the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to offer any evidence against him.

The prosecution offered no evidence against Leslie, saying it had "come into possession of further material that has led to the charges against the defendant being reviewed".

The CPS lawyer added: "The prosecution gladly acknowledges that he will leave this court without a stain on his character from this investigation."

Leslie was accompanied in court by his girlfriend, Abby Titmuss, with whom he arrived holding hands.

The 6ft 5in star was charged on June 18 with two counts of indecent assault after a lengthy investigation by detectives from Scotland Yard's Special Inquiry Team.

Outside court, Mr Leslie, his voice cracking with emotion, said: "I am an innocent man. I have maintained my innocence throughout and today it has been justified."

He said he and his family had been "to hell and back" but always believed that justice would prevail and the truth would out.

The prosecutor, Richard Horwell, said in court: "The Court, Mr Leslie and the general public are entitled to an explanation."

He said that case dropped after the woman who had made the complaints came forward with new information, although he did not say what this was.

He said: "It is the case that, since the defendant last appeared at court, new information has been brought to the attention of the police.

"That information could not have been foreseen. Inevitably, this information relates to the complainant. The source of the information is the complainant herself: that is very much to her credit.

"To say any more, however, would in our view be apt to mislead and would be unfair to the complainant. "Our duties to the complainant mean that this material cannot be disclosed.

"It has, nevertheless, led the Crown Prosecution Service, quite properly, to carry out a further review of the decision to prosecute. It is no longer felt that there is a realistic prospect of conviction in this case. Accordingly, we have made the decision to offer no evidence against Mr Leslie.

"The verdicts that we ask the Court to enter, namely verdicts of not guilty on both counts, mean precisely of course that.

"The media will, of course, understand that the complainant is entitled to life-long anonymity by reason of the provisions of Section 1 of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992."