Kevin Spacey trial; who is Christine Agnew KC, the prosecutor as the Kevin Spacey trial begins?

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Today marks the first full day in London's Southwark Crown Court in the trial against actor Kevin Spacey Fowler.

The trial of Kevin Spacey at Southwark Crown Court begins today, after Wednesday’s day in court saw jurors sworn in and introduced to the lawyers involved. For Kevin Spacey, he will be represented by Patrick Gibb KC, while the prosecution is headed up by Christine Agnew KC in the near month-long trial. 

Spacey is facing a dozen sex offence charges across the period of time between 2001 and 2013, a period of time where the 63-year-old actor acted as artistic director of London’s Old Vic Theatre from 2004 to 2015. 

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Spacey was questioned by British police in 2019 about claims by several men that he had assaulted them. In May 2022, he was charged with five counts against three alleged victims with a further seven charges, all against a fourth man, added that November.

Spacey has pleaded not guilty to all the charges, and has been released on unconditional bail pending the trial due to his residency status in the United Kingdom. It marks the second high profile court case for the ‘American Beauty’ and ‘House of Cards’ actor after he was found ‘not liable’ in 2020 in the trial between himself and actor Anthony Rapp.

The judge overseeing the case Mr. Justice Wall reminded jurors during the Wednesday sitting not to be swayed by outside influences and to try the case purely on the basis of the evidence to be shown during the case. "The defendant will be gratified that many of you know his name or have seen his films,” he stated. “This is a case which has attracted and will continue to attract a lot of media coverage. You must try to avoid such coverage where you can."

Who is Christine Agnew KC?

Christine Agnew KC (Credit: 2BR)Christine Agnew KC (Credit: 2BR)
Christine Agnew KC (Credit: 2BR) | 2BR

While Patrick Gibbs KC will be defending Spacey, it is Christine Agnew KC and her years of complex criminal work who will be on the opposite side of the bench during the four-week trial at Southwark Crown Court in London.

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Highly regarded as a leader in the area of financial crime, health and safety and general crime, Agnew’s practice covers a wide range of criminal work including murder, manslaughter, serious criminal offences and the reason why she was chosen for the prosecution - serious sexual offences. Her steely determination has seen her become a trusted entity with judges and juries alike, with her use of extensive cross-examinations of technical expert witnesses and scientific evidence.

So much so that she was recognized as Crime Silk of the Year in 2019 and Health and Safety Silk of the Year in 2020 by Chambers and Partners, owing to what has been described by her 2 Bedford Row profile as “her complete commitment to her client’s causes. It comes as no surprise then that she has often been described as gentle, considerate, and loved by clients.

She has particular expertise in historical cases but is also enormously experienced in cross examining young witnesses, with Agnew successfully arguing previously that a prosecution for historical sexual offences is unfair due to delay in bringing the charges. 

She was involved in cases pertaining to sexual offences such as R vs FD (representing a Premiership football player charged with gang rape), R vs S (representing a man of good character charged with sexual offences dating back to the 1970’s) and R v X (letter of representation for young man accused of sexual offences leading to a decision not to charge.)

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