Hollyoaks’ James Sutton tells Soaplife that John Paul is terrified as he seeks justice in the rape trial against his attacker, Finn…
As Finn’s trial approaches, nerves are kicking in, especially for John Paul, who’s preparing to take to the stand and give evidence, talking openly about the horrific rape he endured at Finn’s hands. But Finn’s got a good defence lawyer and he can lie convincingly. “John Paul’s terrified about testifying,” James tells Soaplife. “He’s worried people won’t believe him and, at one point, he does lose it on the stand, which doesn’t do him any favours…”
How is John Paul feeling in the run-up to the trial?
“He’s very up and down. One minute he wants to testify, then he has second thoughts. He hears people talking about it in the village and he’s afraid they might think he instigated it… or that he even enjoyed it because he’s a gay man! Ste [Kieron Richardson] tells him he loves him and he’ll support him throughout. That gives John Paul the strength to go ahead.”
What’s it like for John Paul giving evidence?
“It’s his worst nightmare. He struggled to tell his counsellor and family about the rape, so it’s really hard to stand up and relive it in a roomful of people.”
And made more difficult by Finn’s lawyer…
“Yes, he twists it round completely to make it look like John Paul is the predator and Finn [Connor Wilkinson] is the victim.”
Nancy (Jessica Fox) was nearly another victim… Are they supporting one another?
“Not really. Their friendship has taken a battering. If John Paul had come forward, Nancy probably wouldn’t have been attacked so you can understand her reaction.”
How does John Paul feel about Diane (Alex Fletcher) standing by Finn?
“He can understand it to a degree as she’s his mother, but he’s angry she’s lying and covering for Finn by saying he was at home with her when he wasn’t.”
Then John Paul gets a shock in court…
“Finn plays the victim and John Paul is stunned. He hasn’t realised that’s the route Finn and his solicitor are going to take.”
How worried is he that Finn will walk free?
“Very. It’s massively up and down. One minute, you think he’ll get off, the next you think he’ll go down. It’s a rollercoaster week.”
What would a guilty verdict mean to John Paul?
“It would be a huge relief. It would make the trauma of going to the police, then going to court, worth it. If Finn were found ‘not guilty’, it would be really difficult because John Paul would have to see him every day in the village. I’m not sure he’d be able to stick around.”