South Scotland

Fred Talbot trial evidence 'overwhelming'

Court sign Image copyright PA

The evidence in the trial of a former TV weatherman is "overwhelming and compelling", a jury has been told.

Prosecutor Imran Bashir made the claim as he asked jurors to find Fred Talbot guilty of all the indecency charges against him.

However, Mr Talbot's lawyer argued the case was not proven beyond reasonable doubt and urged them to acquit him.

The 67-year-old, on trial at Lanark Sheriff Court, has denied all the charges against him.

He is accused of indecently assaulting several teenage boys on school trips to the Moffat and Inverness areas in the 1970s and 1980s.

He is further accused of lewd, indecent and libidinous practices and behaviour towards a boy aged 12 on a trip.

Mr Talbot, of Greater Manchester, has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

'Almost identical'

On the eighth day of the trial, lawyers on both sides got the chance to address the jury after all the evidence had been led.

In his opening remarks, Mr Bashir told the men and women of the jury: "It's my submission the evidence in this case is overwhelming and compelling."

He spoke of what he described as similarities between the evidence given by various witnesses, now men in their 50s.

These included similarities in the time, location and nature of the alleged offences, and in the ages of the alleged victims, the court heard.

Two separate witnesses gave accounts which were "almost identical", Mr Bashir, the fiscal depute, said.

He told jurors it was "remarkable" that different strands of the evidence should "come together perfectly".

Mr Bashir said men from various professions had given evidence in the case and he asked the jury to consider: "Why, oh why, would they put themselves through that, on the oath, unless it was true?"

'Easy target'

He asked the jury to find Mr Talbot guilty of all the charges he faces.

Later, Alan Gravelle, defending, pointed to the significant passage of time since the dates of the alleged offences but said Mr Talbot had been prepared to answer difficult questions in court.

"Mr Talbot didn't have to give evidence in this case but he did," the lawyer said.

He spoke of "discrepancies" between various witnesses.

The lawyer also suggested Mr Talbot, as a young and liberal teacher leading excursions, had been an "easy target" at the time and the subject of "Chinese whispers" and "playground sniggers around the school".

Urging the jury to find Mr Talbot not guilty, Mr Gravelle told them: "This case is not proven beyond reasonable doubt."

The trial continues.

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