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Clifford jurors told other sex cases are 'irrelevant'

Jurors in the trial of publicist Max Clifford were told other high-profile sex assault cases are "irrelevant" to their considerations.

Judge Anthony Leonard QC urged them not to be "overawed" by media interest and ignore other cases including a "recent high-profile trial involving an MP", as he began his summing-up at London's Southwark Crown Court.

A jury at Preston Crown Court last week unanimously cleared former Commons deputy speaker Nigel Evans of nine sexual allegations, including one of rape. Clifford, 71, from Hersham, Surrey, is standing trial accused of 11 counts of indecent assault against seven girls and women, all of which he denies.

"This trial has attracted media attention," Judge Leonard said.

"You must ignore any reports you have read in the past or during the trial about the defendant. Come to your verdicts based fully on the evidence in court.

"The fact the defendant is a well-known media personality does not change the rules in the way you try this case.

"You must not be overawed or deflected by the interest in this case."

The jury "cannot be unaware" the investigation into the Jimmy Savile scandal had "spawned a number of inquiries into various people", Judge Leonard said.

"All are irrelevant in your considerations of this case," he said. "You will try this defendant on evidence in this case and ignore what may be happening to other people in respect of other investigations.

"The prosecution arose from Operation Yewtree in which other well-known personalities have been accused of sex offences."

The trial continues.

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