Honiton man cleared of indecently assaulting young girl
PUBLISHED: 07:30 28 July 2020 | UPDATED: 14:14 03 August 2020
A Honiton man has been cleared of historic sexual abuse charges in the first jury trial to be held at Exeter Crown Court since the Covid-19 emergency.
Kevin Lovelace-Parker was cleared of six counts of indecent assault against a young girl which dated back to the 1990s.
He was found not guilty after the first trial to be held at the court centre under strict health and social distancing guidelines.
Lovelace-Parker, aged 52, from Honiton, denied and was acquitted of six offences of indecent assault.
The girl did not report the alleged abuse at the time but made a complaint to the police in 2018 after meeting the defendant when he was working in Honiton.
She said the encounter re-kindled memories and she gave a video recorded account in which she told police of the allegations.
The defendant denied touching her at all and said he had never been alone with the child and the jury found in favour of the defendant and he was acquitted of all charges.
It was the first case since the re-start and the jury had to stand at pre-marked spots two metres apart in a neighbouring court room when they were sworn in and sat behind Perspex screens during the hearing itself.
They were spread out across one entire side of Court One, which was used for the trial because it is the only one in the building big enough to allow sufficient distance between them.
Each were given their own jury bundle, which contained documents such as the indictment, agreed facts and a summary of the police interview.
Nobody other than the juror was allowed to touch the bundle and jurors entered and left court in a long crocodile to enable them to maintain distancing.
It was the first contested case to be heard in Exeter since March 18.
The court has remained open to deal with sentences and preliminary hearings and to re-schedule cases which were delayed because of the pandemic emergency.
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