Kevin Spacey has appeared in the dock at Southwark Crown Court in London to face 12 sexual assault charges.
The actor, best known for his roles in “House of Cards” and “American Beauty,” was sat in a windowed glass dock inside Courtroom 1 accompanied by dock officers. He wore a dark suit with a light blue shirt and pink tie.
Mr Justice Wall is presiding over the case, which will be heard by a 12-strong jury. Patrick Gibbs KC was appearing on behalf of the actor while the prosecution are represented by Christine Agney KC and Shauna Ritchie.
The first day of the trial dealt entirely with jury selection. Judge Wall said that he had excused 16 potential jurors for personal reasons, including work and caring commitments. Of the remaining potential jurors, 14 were selected: 12 as the actual jury and two alternates, who will remain until after the prosecution has opened the case.
The potential jurors were also asked to fill in a questionnaire setting out any issues that might rule them out from serving on the jury. From the judge’s remarks, it seemed a number of them had said they had heard of Spacey, as Mr Wall remarked: “I’m sure the defendant will be gratified to know that many of you know his name or have seen his films but that won’t disqualify you from sitting on this jury.”
After the 14 jury members were selected, the twelve charges Spacey is facing were read out in the courtroom and the jury members were each sworn in.
Judge Wall then instructed the jury as to the scope of their role in the trial, which would be to try the case by assessing the evidence before them, and warned them not to read, watch or listen to any media reports or social media chatter about the case. “You are the ones who are here to assess the evidence,” he told them. “You decide what evidence is important.”
He also advised them that while every effort would be made to keep the trial moving swiftly, there could sometimes be delays so the jurors should “Bring a good book with you because there may be times it comes in useful.”
As if to demonstrate that fact, the case has now been adjourned until Friday morning, when the prosecution will return to give their opening statement.