British DJ Dave Lee Travis to face sex assault trial

6th September 2013, Comments 0 comments

British radio presenter Dave Lee Travis, who counts Aung San Suu Kyi among his fans, will stand trial next year accused of 11 counts of indecent assault and one sexual assault, a judge said Friday.

The 68-year-old former BBC star, one of the biggest names in British broadcasting during the 1970s and 1980s, has indicated that he will plead not guilty to the charges.

At a 20-minute preliminary hearing at London's Old Bailey court, judge Nigel Sweeney said Travis would next appear on October 21, and fixed his trial date for March 4 next year.

Bearded Travis, wearing a grey suit and a red patterned tie, spoke only to confirm his name and to say that he understood his bail conditions.

He got straight into a taxi after leaving the court, ignoring the scrum of waiting journalists and photographers.

The assaults are alleged to have taken place between 1977 and 2007 against nine alleged victims aged between 15 and 29 at the time.

Travis, whose real name is David Patrick Griffin, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing since he was arrested in November. His lawyer said at a previous hearing that he would be pleading not guilty.

The trial is expected to last between four and five weeks.

Travis is one of several ageing celebrities in Britain arrested under Operation Yewtree, the police operation set up in the wake of revelations that late BBC star Jimmy Savile was a prolific sex offender.

The charges against Travis are not connected to his former colleague Savile, who police believe abused hundreds of victims, mainly young girls.

Nicknamed the Hairy Cornflake, Travis spent 25 years presenting on BBC Radio 1, and also hosted a music request show on the BBC World Service.

Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Suu Kyi said the World Service show had helped her to get through more than two decades under house arrest, and she met the DJ when she visited BBC studios in London last year.

Fourteen people have been arrested under Operation Yewtree, four of whom have been charged.

© 2013 AFP

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