John Leslie chooses to be tried by jury as he pleads not guilty to sexual assault charge

Albertina Lloyd
Entertainment reporter, Yahoo UK
John Leslie leaving Westminster Magistrates' Court after appearing charged with sexually assaulting a woman more than a decade ago (Credit: PA)

John Leslie has chosen to be tried by jury as he appeared in court charged with sexual assault.

The former Blue Peter and This Morning presenter is accused of groping a woman at a party in London’s Soho in December 2008.

Leslie, 54, appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court today where he denied the offence.

Leslie elected to be tried by a jury at the crown court rather than at magistrates court, despite the offence being deemed appropriate to be decided by a district judge.

Read more: John Leslie charged with sexual assault

Scotland Yard said Leslie, from Edinburgh, was charged with sexual touching of a woman by postal requisition on June 5.

Prosecutor Jocelyn Ledward described the charge as “a simple allegation of a brief sexual touching over clothing”.

District Judge Emma Arbuthnot listed the case for a plea and trial preparation hearing at Southwark Crown Court on August 22.

She granted Leslie, from Edinburgh, unconditional bail until that date.

'Blue Peter' presenters Anthea Turner, John Leslie, Diane-Louise Jordan, Tim Vincent, Katie Hill and Richard Bacon celebrating the children's TV show's 60th birthday in 2018 (Credit:PA)

Leslie, real name John Stott, joined Blue Peter in 1989 and remained with the show until 1994.

In 1998 he took over from Bradley Walsh as the main presenter of game show Wheel Of Fortune, before joining This Morning a year later.

Read more: BBC hits back at claims that Blue Peter episode had zero viewers

He was replaced on the morning show by Phillip Schofield in 2002.

Between 2012 and 2016, Leslie had short stints as a radio DJ in Scotland with Castle FM and Bauer Radio.

He appeared in the dock in a grey suit and striped tie.