Kevin Spacey appeared at the U.K.’s historic Old Bailey criminal court on Thursday morning, where he pleaded not guilty to all five counts of sexual assault. His U.K. trial will begin on June 6, 2023, and is expected to last for three to four weeks.
The actor is charged under his full name of Kevin Spacey Fowler and was addressed as Mr Fowler by Mr Justice Wall, who presided over the court room in the traditional red robe and curly white wigs worn by legal professionals in U.K. courts. As is traditional in British criminal courts, the case is listed as R v Fowler, with the “R” standing for Regina, meaning Queen Elizabeth II. It is read aloud as “the Queen versus Fowler.”
Spacey wore a light blue suit and tie and walked into Old Bailey through the front entrance, accompanied by security and his legal team, consisting of barrister Patrick Gibbs QC and solicitor Oliver Schneider-Sikorsky as well as some other unidentified individuals, one of whom is thought to be a publicist. The actor and his entourage headed straight to a conference room inside the courthouse, which was guarded by a uniformed policeman, presumably to keep out the waiting crowd of press rather than concerns about Spacey absconding, given he is currently on unconditional bail.
At around 9.40am the actor walked into Courtroom 1 and was guided into the dock, opposite the judge’s bench. He spent a moment surveying the historic wood-panelled room, which looks almost like a set out of a legal drama, before taking his seat.
At Mr Justice Wall’s direction, Spacey confirmed his name, date of birth and entered a plea of “not guilty” to all five counts, which were read out in detail by a court clerk.
The charges against Spacey consist of four counts of sexual assault against three men — now in their 30s and 40s — between 2005 and 2013. He has also been charged with “causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent.”
This was followed by some discussion between the judge and Mr Gibbs about the trial date, with Mr Gibbs initially requesting Sept. 2023 partly due to scheduling clashes in his own diary. The judge, however, said that if the trial did not take place next spring the following available date would be November 2023, over 15 months away, a period so long the judge said he considered it “unjust.”
Mr Gibbs requested permission to speak to Spacey privately in the dock, which Mr Justice Wall allowed, after which the barrister confirmed they could agree to a June trial date. The trial is set to be held at Southwark Crown Court unless there are scheduling issues, in which case it will move to the Old Bailey.
The judge also confirmed that the Crown Prosecution Service did not have any objections to Spacey’s continued unconditional bail, which they did not. That means he is free to travel, including abroad. However Mr Justice Wall reminded Spacey that his duties are to “come to court” for the trial and any failure to turn up to a listed court hearing is a criminal offence.
“Thank you, my lord,” Spacey replied before exiting the dock, followed by his entourage. They repaired to the conference room next door, where they waited for approximately 30 minutes. Spacey’s solicitor then co-ordinated with security how to get Spacey out of the courthouse and into the waiting towncar outside, which was surrounded by a scrum of photographers and entranced members of the public. As the actor materialized outside, the crowd surged forward surrounding his car, with a police officer shooing them away.
Last month the actor appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court to determine whether his case would be heard there or, as is mandated for more serious offenses, sent to the crown court.
Deputy chief magistrate Tan Ikram determined the case would need to be heard in a crown court and booked a plea and trial preparation hearing at Southwark Crown Court. However, the venue was quietly changed to the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales — nicknamed the Old Bailey — around a week ago. No reasons were given for the switch but the Old Bailey is typically the venue for more high profile cases.
The venue has also appeared in a number of film and TV shows, including in “V for Vendetta” and the director’s cut of “Justice League,” in which Wonder Woman, played by Gal Gadot, foils a terrorist plot at the court.