A defence barrister at the trial of two men accused of trying to blackmail a member of the Royal Family has dismissed the legal proceedings as farcical.

41-year-old Sean McGuigan from Battersea and Ian Strachan, 31, from Fulham, have both pleaded not guilty to making demands with menaces, contrary to the Theft Act 1968.

They are accused of trying to extort the money from the Royal after failing to sell “potentially damaging” video recordings to the newspapers.

Ronald Thwaites QC, defending McGuigan, said his client was a fantasist and had been unwise in his choice of friendships, but claimed the evidence presented to the jury was insubstantial, insignificant and incomplete.

He told jurors they were being asked to convict his client on the basis that he shrugged his shoulders during a police sting operation.

Yesterday prosecutor Mark Ellison QC accused Mr Strachan and Mr McGuigan of “classic blackmail.”

The member of the Royal Family at the centre of the “gay sex” blackmail trial has said the accusations about his sexuality are “spurious.”

Referred to only as witness A, he told the court in a statement: “As far as these comments about my personal and professional life are concerned, I can only say they are spurious and without foundation.”

Since The Sunday Times broke the story in October there has been widespread speculation as to which Royal Family member is the victim of the alleged blackmail.

He has been named on TV in the US and Australia and on numerous websites.

The British press are legally restrained from revealing the identity of the person, though it has been reported that he does not carry out any public duties.

Buckingham Palace has refused to comment on the alleged blackmail, saying only that it is a matter for the police.