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Kevin Spacey appeared at London’s Westminster Magistrates court Thursday morning, setting the wheels in motion for the first criminal trial in the U.K. against the actor since allegations of sexual assault first broke in 2017.
At the court, following a roughly 45-minute hearing, deputy chief magistrate Tan Ikram concluded by sending the case to Southwark Crown Court, with a hearing set July 14. He also granted Spacey unconditional bail unless the court decided there was a real risk. “I’ve not been persuaded there is a real risk,” the judge added.
With a media circus camped outside and journalists having already queued hours in advance for one of the limited spaces inside, Spacey, wearing a blue suit, white shirt, blue suede shoes and glasses, arrived to a chaotic swarm of cameras, with him entering through the court’s front entrance rather than being given any special treatment.
Once inside, he confirmed his full name of Kevin Spacey Fowler and address and had the five specific charges read out to him.
The four charges involve three counts of sexual assault against three men, two in March 2005, one in August 2008 and another in April 2013. In late May, the Crown Prosecution Service also detailed that there was one charge for “causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent” in 2008.
Key players in the room included legal defense lead Patrick Gibbs QC and prosecutor Natalie Dawson. Spacey entered accompanied by a team of three lawyers, including one from the U.S.
Spacey’s defense said he strenuously denied any and all allegations, but said that “he needs to answer these charges if he wants to proceed with his life.”
Much of the hearing was dedicated to Spacey’s bail, with Dawson arguing that, given the severity of the sentence were he to be found guilty, it is “reasonably foreseeable that he would not return to the U.K.” and said he should remain in the U.K. and surrender his travel documents.
Gibbs stressed the fact that Spacey had so far cooperated with all legal requirements, spending several hours being interviewed by the police in the U.S. and turning up voluntarily — as he promised last month — for the hearing. He also played heavily on the fact that his work depended on him being able to travel to the U.S. and outside of the U.K.
“What is he going to do if he doesn’t answer charges, where is he going to hide?” Gibbs said. “Is he to be incarcerated in his flat in London, unable to work, unable to audition to work?” He added that Spacey couldn’t audition on end via computer. “His family is in the U.S., his nine-year-old dog is in the U.S.” Ikram eventually sided with the defence over the granting of bail.
Aside from dealing with the formalities, Spacey remained silent throughout the hearing and sat alone in the dock. He left the court at roughly 11 a.m. to an even more chaotic media scrum, as security was forced to keep cameras back in order for him to enter a waiting car.
Spacey’s appearance, and an impending U.K. trial that is not expected to take place until at least 2023, marks the next chapter for the two-time Oscar winner, who in 2017 found himself accused of numerous counts of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the wake of the MeToo movement.
Following the allegations, which in the U.S. included the actor Anthony Rapp, who accused Spacey of making sexual advances toward him in 1986 when Rapp was 14, Netflix cut ties with Spacey, removing him from the final season of House of Cards and shelving his film Gore. His role as J. Paul Getty in Ridley Scott’s All The Money in the World was famously reshot, with Christopher Plummer replacing him.
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