Page last updated at 13:09 GMT, Wednesday, 26 August 2009 14:09 UK

Sex case actor's anonymity plea

Lewis Linford
Mr Linford said he was considering taking legal action against his accuser

A former soap actor who was cleared of groping a woman in a nightclub has said those accused of sexual offences should be allowed to remain anonymous.

It took a jury just seven minutes to declare Lewis Linford, 22, not guilty of assaulting the woman in 2007 at a nightclub in Hull, East Yorkshire.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 live, he said the identity of the accused should be private until a verdict is passed.

Mr Linford played gamekeeper Lee Naylor in Emmerdale until June 2009.

'Everyone shocked'

Between 1976 and 1988 those accused of sex offences were granted anonymity, however the law was repealed after arguments that sexual offences should not be distinguished from other types of crime.

Mr Linford was accused of groping a woman and asking her for sex as they queued for a cash machine in the Pozition nightclub in December 2007.

FROM BBC RADIO 5 LIVE

He said the woman had invented the accusations, and that she had actually attacked him.

Mr Linford, of Swanland in Hull, told the Victoria Derbyshire show: "After she'd hit me the first time everyone around us was shocked.

"They were asking 'Why are you hitting him?' There was a bit of a scene and she said: 'He's just touched me up'."

During the scuffle the woman punched Mr Linford several times and another woman poured a drink over his head, Hull Crown Court heard.

Mr Linford said he thought the woman had persisted with the case because she did not want to admit that she had assaulted him.

He said he was considering taking legal action against her.

"In certain cases I don't think it is necessary for people to have their name branded in all the newspapers," the actor said.

"I think sexual assault crimes tend to stick with a person more once everything's over and you're found not guilty."

He said that judges should be allowed to use their discretion over whether to name the accused in sexual assault cases.



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