A teenage boy who has accused the brother of This Morning host Phillip Schofield of sexually abusing him was not motivated by “hate or lies” and was telling the truth about what happened to him, a court has heard.
Timothy Schofield, 54, is on trial at Exeter Crown Court charged with 11 sexual offences involving a child between October 2016 and October 2019, including two of sexual activity with a child.
Schofield told his TV star brother about some of the alleged offending in September 2021, Exeter Crown Court heard.
The defendant, an IT technician for Avon and Somerset Police, has told the jury he had been gay his “entire life” but had kept it “completely secret and hidden from everybody”.
On Friday, the jury heard closing speeches from the barrister representing the Crown and Schofield’s lawyer.
Robin Shellard, prosecuting, said: “There are good reasons why society – and we here are all part of this society and the law which is founded because of society – treats those under 18 and those under 16 not as full adults.
“Society tries to protect children from adults who want to abuse them and tries to protect children from themselves.”
“We are not dealing with morals but criminal abuse against a child.”
But Mr Shellard told the jury: “The question you must ask yourself, was this going on for some 18 months when he was just past his 16th birthday and finished by August 2021?
“Or was this going on for longer and quite deliberately?”
Mr Shellard said the evidence from the boy was that the abuse started when he was 13 and the barrister suggested the account was “restrained”.
“If the boy was making it up, if he was a person motivated by hate and spite, he could have made it much worse,” he said.
“The problem for Mr Schofield is how restrained the boy is in his allegations. Is that person motivated by hate and spite or is he saying things about what happened?
“This was a teenager who was criminally abused when he was 13, 14 and 15, and it is something that only came to an end when he was sure enough to deal with it.”
Peter Binder, defending, said that in a court of public morals Schofield would be guilty of the gravest of crimes.
“Cases like this often expose a strong emotional response in the listener and it can be natural to have sympathy for the complainant and it is natural to have strong feelings of antipathy towards the accused,” he said.
“By the end of all the evidence in this case and after all you heard, there may be some of your number who may be forgiven for hating him too.
“In a court of public morals, Timothy Schofield would be guilty of the most serious crimes, and yet, members of the jury, matters of themselves do not make him guilty of these offences.
“You must be utterly dispassionate.
“This case boils down one person’s word – that of the boy – against the other – that of the defendant.”
Schofield, of Bath, denies three counts of causing a child to watch sexual activity, three of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, three of causing a child to engage in sexual activity and two of sexual activity with a child.
Phillip Schofield has not appeared on ITV’s This Morning this week and the studio said he was taking “pre-planned leave”.
Mrs Justice Cutts told the jury they will retire to consider their verdicts on Monday.