GBC Trial Day 19.5 (the weekend)


Something to get the chat going for the weekend

 

Baden-Clay murder trial: Large crowds in court evidence of a healthy legal system, top barrister says

11/07/14

Gerard Baden-Clay

The murder trial of Gerard Baden-Clay has seen a ticketing system introduced to prevent overcrowding

The high level of public interest in the Gerard Baden-Clay trial is nothing out of the ordinary, and in fact makes for a healthy legal system, a top barrister says.

The former real estate agent’s murder trial attracted crowds to the Brisbane Supreme Court, with extra courtrooms opened for people who queued day after day to gain entry, and a ticketing system introduced to prevent overcrowding.

The Department of Justice and Attorney-General says these special arrangements for large-scale trials are made to ensure openness and transparency in the justice system.

This transparency is key to keeping Australia’s legal apparatus – everyone from police to barristers and judges – held to account, says Ken Fleming, QC.

Mr Fleming was the defence barrister for former Bundaberg surgeon Jayant Patel and has worked as a United Nations prosecutor on international war crimes trials.

“Everyone should be held accountable for what they’re doing, and the open scrutiny of it is a very important thing,” he said.

“You just can’t have things going on behind closed doors, because that engenders fear of the unknown.”

Mr Fleming says the “whole delivery of justice” depends on high levels of public interest, because people can see and understand the process.

Seeing mystery unravel part of appeal, barrister says

The courts are not, however, in danger of turning into another form of entertainment – rather, they always have been.

“You only have to think about the French Revolution and the guillotining in the forecourt of the Notre Dame,” Mr Fleming said.

Although some people may attend just to see a mystery unravel, he believes many also have a genuine interest in watching the ins and outs of the legal process.

There might be some prurient interest as well, but I think that’s not the major reason people are there.

Ken Fleming, QC

“You only have to look at some of the British television programs to see how we love a good murder mystery,” he said.

“There might be some prurient interest as well, but I think that’s not the major reason people are there.

“They just have a genuine interest in what’s going on.”

Glen Cranny, a defence lawyer and partner at Gilshenan and Luton Lawyers, also believes a high level of public interest is healthy for the criminal justice system generally.

“People might come for any number of reasons, and some might come for mawkish reasons,” he said.

“Nevertheless, I think the benefits of having an open and transparent system … far outweigh any perverse interest some people may get out of such proceedings.”

Public pressure witnesses face may discourage some: lawyer

Publicity and public interest in a case can also encourage other complainants or witnesses to come forward and give evidence, where they may have otherwise been unaware or not confident enough.

Rolf Harris‘s case in England, for example, involved people who were coming forward as complainants once they, I think, had the courage that there were protections and systems in place for their story to be told,” Mr Cranny said.

But this benefit has a flip-side: that very publicity could make people apprehensive about revealing their story.

“I think there is a tipping point where some people might think they could do without their face or name being splashed on TV as a witness, or as a complainant,” Mr Cranny said.

“They would be happy to be involved in the process in a low-key way, but don’t want to be engaged … in anything that might in some way feel like a circus to them.”

Reputational issues should also be factored in, especially when a person’s conduct, while lawful, may not hold them in a good light.

“We’ve seen in a recent high-profile case … a lot of focus on extra-marital affairs and so on,” Mr Cranny said.

“There are people who are involved in those relationships, who haven’t broken the law, but have become very prominent just through their personal lives.”

Mr Fleming says that while public interest could make some people “a bit reluctant”, he had not seen any evidence of public attendance impacting on witnesses.

“It is on display and in a sense it’s theatre,” he said.

“But once people are resigned to the fact that they will be giving evidence, I don’t think too much stands in their way.”

Opening additional courtrooms and keeping the public away from “where the action is happening” also means witnesses are only faced with a very small and confined audience in the main court, Mr Fleming said.

All previous threads and history including trial can be found clicking on link below http://aussiecriminals.com.au/category/gerard-baden-clay/

List of Trial Witnesses as they appear here

ANY EVIDENCE LIKE PHOTOS, VIDEO OR DOCUMENTS THE COURT RELEASES TO THE PUBLIC WILL BE PUBLISHED in the GBC Documents Page

Brisbane Supreme Court Justice John Byrne has asked a jury to retire to consider a verdict in the trial of Gerard Baden-Clay.

Rolf Harris-FOUND GUILTY-Sentenced to 5yrs 9 months


ROLF OFF TO JAIL

There is a lot going on with this case. I was almost laughing seeing him helped out of a limo looking all crippled and old taking one step every 3 seconds to walk into court. For Christ sake, he was running a round a stage a few months ago happy as Larry despite his age. This is setting up on his side to get no jail time. I drafted some posts about identifying it was him who was the old Australian entertainer being investigated because the Aussie media was too gutless to say out loud what everyone knew. Harris like so many in the 70’s and 80’s thought they were SO famous they were untouchable. Sadly the girls in their vicinity were NOT.

“Your reputation lies in ruins, you have been stripped of your honours, but you have no-one to blame but yourself,” Justice Sweeney told the convicted paedophile.

UPDATE JUNE 4th 2014

Rolf Harris sentencing: a transcript of Justice Nigel Sweeney’s remarks

Rolf Harris has been sentenced to five years and nine months for assaults on four girls.

THE judge said it plainly and powerfully.

These are the damning words Justice Nigel Sweeney used when he handed down Rolf Harris’s jail sentence, listing the star’s crimes and stating he had not shown any remorse.

Read them and remind yourself why he was jailed. Some of the sentences may be confronting revealing much more detail than what was reported

“Rolf Harris, you are 84 years old. You have no previous criminal convictions or cautions recorded against you. You are no longer in the best of health. For well over 50 years you have been a popular entertainer and television personality of international standing – with a speciality in children’s entertainment. You are also an artist of renown. You have been the recipient of a number of honours and awards over the years. You have done many good and charitable works and numerous people have attested to your positive good character.

But the verdicts of the jury show that in the period from 1969 to 1986 you were also a sex offender – committing 12 offences of indecent assault on 4 victims who were variously aged between 8 and 19 at the time. There were a number of aggravating features. You took advantage of the trust placed in you, because of your celebrity status, to commit the offences against three of your victims ‘A’ (Count 1), ‘B’ (Count 2) and Tonya Lee (Counts 10-12). All your offences in relation to ‘C’ (Counts 3-9) were committed in breach of the trust that her parents had placed in you, and two of them took place in her own home. In every case the age gap between you and your victim was a very considerable one.

HOW IT HAPPENED: Reports from the sentencing of Rolf Harris

WAS THE SENTENCE TOO SOFT? Complaints prompt review

You clearly got a thrill from committing the offences whilstwhiles were present or nearby. Whilst others did not realise what you were doing, their presence added to the ordeal of your victims. It is clear from the evidence that what you did has had a significant adverse effect on each victim, and particularly so in relation to ‘C’ who suffered severe psychological injury in consequence. None of the victims had the confidence to complain at the time. Each, including Tonya Lee, and especially ‘C’, showed considerable courage in eventually coming forward and in giving evidence.

You have shown no remorse for your crimes at all. Your reputation now lies in ruins, you have been stripped of your honours but you have no one to blame but yourself.

On Count 1 you indecently assaulted ‘A’ in 1969 (when she was aged 8 and you were aged 39). You did so when you made an appearance at the Leigh Park Community Centre in Havant, and she approached you for your autograph. Others were present. Taking advantage of your celebrity status, you twice put your hand up her skirt between her legs and touched her vagina over her clothing. In her Victim Impact Statement ‘A’ states, which I am sure is true, that you took her childhood innocence – for which she blamed herself and became an angry child and teenager, unable to express herself and unable to trust men. She continued “I have carried what Rolf Harris did to me for most of my life, it took away my childhood, it affected every aspect of my life from the point he assaulted me. Something that he did to me for fun that caused me physical and mental pain for his own pleasure and then probably forgot about as quickly as he did it, has had a catastrophic effect on me…..”

On Count 2 I have no doubt that you indecently assaulted ‘B’ in July 1978 (when she was aged 16. and you were aged 48). You did so on the day that you took part in Star Games on Jesus Green in Cambridge. You were clowning around and took advantage of the fact that she was somewhat awestrawe-struckn others were present. You groped her bottom, squeezing her left buttock a number of times. In her Victim Impact Statement, which I am also sure is true, she says amongst other things “…Rolf Harris took advantage of me and made me feel ashamed. That an adult man could do what he did to me made me feel so powerless. He treated me like a toy that he played with for his own pleasure with absolutely no regard for what he was inflicting and then getting on with his life as if nothing had happened….”.

‘C’ and her family began living across the road from you and your family in Sydenham in the mid 1960s. She and your daughter Bindi became the very best of friends. In late 1978 when ‘C’ was aged 13 and you were aged 48 you were allowed by ‘C’s parents to take her on holiday with your wife and Bindi to Canada, Hawaii and Australia. Her parents trusted you to look after their daughter and continued to do so after the end of the holiday. I have no doubt that you fancied ‘C’ – even at that young age. I make clear that I am not sentencing you in relation to what happened on that holiday, but I am sure, in the light of the jury’s verdicts, that ‘C’ gave truthful evidence as to what occurred, and that it was the indecent assaults that you carried out on that holiday that emboldened you to commit offences against her in this country thereafter.

On Count 3 you indecently assaulted ‘C’ in the latter part of 1980 by which time she was aged 15 and you were aged 50. You had moved to Bray, and were visiting the ‘Cs’ with your wife. You committed the offence in breach of trust, and it was further aggravated by being committed in ‘C’’s own home. You left your wife and ‘C’’s parents downstairs and you went up to ‘C’s bedroom on the top floor of the house. You spat on the fingers of one hand, put that hand down her jeans and knickers, and digitally penetrated her vagina. The episode lasted for about a minute until she managed to get away.

On Count 4 you indecently assaulted ‘C’ after Xmas 1980 when she was still aged 15 and you were aged 50. Again you were visiting the ‘C’s with your wife. Again you committed the offence in breach of trust and it was further aggravated by being committed in ‘C’’s own home. You left your wife and ‘C’’s parents downstairs whilstwhileent up to the TV room on the first floor where ‘C’ was. You spat on the fingers of one hand, put that hand down her dungarees and knickers and digitally penetrated her vagina. You continued for up to a minute until she managed to get away.

Counts 5 & 6 arose from a single incident in the period between the autumn of 1980 and Easter 1981 when ‘C’ was aged 15 and you were aged 50. ‘C’ was visiting Bindi at Bray and was permitted by her parents to stay – sleeping in one of two single beds in Bindi’s room. On this occasion after Bindi had got up, and whilstwhilend/or your wife were in the house, and again in breach of trust, you went into the bedroom where ‘C’ was still in bed. You took her pants down, spat on the fingers of one of your hands, and digitally penetrated her vagina (Count 5), then you took off your glasses bent down to her vagina and started licking it (Count 6) – continuing until she closed her legs and pushed you away.

Counts 7 & 8 arose from another single incident in the same period between the autumn of 1980 and Easter 1981- and thus when ‘C’ was still aged 15 and you were aged 50. Again ‘C’ was visiting Bindi at Bray and was sleeping in one of the two single beds in Bindi’s room. On this occasion, whilstwhile was still asleep in her bed and ‘C’ was in the other bed you entered the room, again in breach of trust, pulled ‘C’s pants down to her ankles, spat on the fingers of one hand and digitally penetrated her vagina (Count 7), then you licked her vagina again keeping an eye on Bindi (who was still asleep) as you did so (Count 8) – continuing until ‘C’ closed her legs and pushed you away.

On Count 9 you indecently assaulted ‘C’ in 1984 when she was aged 19 andyou were aged 54. On this occasion she and her mother were visiting your wife at Bray. ‘C’ was using the indoor swimming pool when you appeared in your swimming trunks and got in. Your wife and Mrs ‘C’ (who trusted you) withdrew to another part of the house whereupon you touched ‘C’s breasts and then put one of your hands down her bikini bottom and digitally penetrated her vagina.

Whilst not sentencing you in relation to what you did to ‘C’ in the decade that followed that offence, I am sure that offences against her continued until 1994. Indeed the point is made on your behalf that you have not committed any further offences since then. In her Victim Impact Statement, which I am sure is true, ‘C’ says, among other things, “…The attacks that happened have made me feel dirty, grubby and disgusting. The whole sordid saga has traumatised me. I have panic attacks and suffer from anxiety. The effects of the abuse have been with me for many years. I started drinking at the age of 14 to 15 years old. This was to block out the effects of what he was doing to me. This had an effect on my relationship with my parents and people close to me. The slightest thing would upset me, I would get so angry, my reaction would be so disproportionate and over the top. As a young girl I had aspirations to have a career, settle down and have a family. However, as a direct result of his actions, this has never materialised.

I have never had a meaningful relationship. I have also never been able to hold down a job. This was down to the need to block out what he had done to me through drink. Rolf Harris had a hold over me that made me a quivering wreck….He made me feel like a sexual object. He used and abused me to such an extent that it made me feel worthless….. I suffered abuse at the hands of a person who thought he could get away with it. He made me feel that would not be believed and as a result I suffered in silence. This has had a detrimental effect on my life and health outcome….”.I have no doubt, in view of the evidence given at trial by ‘C’, and by the doctors and counsellors who treated her, that it was your crimes against her that resulted in her becoming an alcoholic for many years with all that that entailed, and that thus (as I have already touched on) you caused her severe psychological harm

On Count 10 you indecently assaulted Tonya Lee on 31 May 1986 – when she was aged 15 and you were aged 56. She was one of the Shopfront Theatre Group from Sydney, Australia who were on a tour of the UK at that time. You knew the lady who was in charge of the Group, and at her invitation had attended the Group’s last performance on the tour which was in South London. Thereafter you accompanied them to a public house called the Queen’s Arms. It was there, in the presence of others, that you committed the offence. Taking advantage of you celebrity status you got Tonya to sit on your knee, put your hand on her thigh under her skirt and moved it up to her vagina over her tights and knickers and fondled her there until she managed to make an excuse and fled to the Ladies toilet.

You followed her to the vicinity of the toilet and waited outside.

Counts 11 & 12 arose from a single incident after she came out. Others, although not present, were nearby. You got her in a forceful bear hug, put one hand down her top and into her bra and played with one of her breasts for about 30 seconds, fondling and squeezing it (Count 11).

Then, really quickly, you moved the same hand under her skirt, down her tights and knickers and quickly digitally penetrated her vagina (Count 12). You then stopped and walked away.

In an email from Australia Tonya Lee writes that what you did to her was a turning point in her life that she has never recovered from. She says, among other things, that “…What Rolf Harris took from me was my self belief and more so the ability to feel safe. I have never felt safe since. I live in a constant state of anxiety”.., She goes on to describe the difficulties that she and her children have faced since and continues “…What Mr Harris took from me was my very essence. I believe that it was for Mr Harris a forgettable moment but it was something for me that I have never moved on from and will never forget…” I proceed upon the basis, as both sides have invited me to, that (consistent with her evidence at trial) your offences were not the sole cause of Tonya Lee’s problems.

It was in the mid 1990s, and after it had stopped, that ‘C’ then still an alcoholic, finally told her family what you had done to her. In 1997 she confronted you and you sent that letter to her father in the hope of avoiding or minimising the consequences. You succeeded at that stage, but only because she was in no fit state to face making an official complaint.However, following her brave recovery from alcoholism, and after extensive counselling and support from her family, it was ‘C’’s eventual complaint in the autumn of 2012 which began the series of events that led to your prosecution and conviction. I apply the approach to sentencing historic sexual offences set out in Annex B of the current Sentencing Council Definitive Guideline, and have also considered the guidance given in the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Attorney General’s Reference (No.38 of 2013)(R v Stuart Hall) [2014] 1 Cr.App.R. (S.) 61

The maximum sentence on Count 1 is one of 5 years’ imprisonment, on each of Counts 2-9 it is one of 2 year’s imprisonment, and on each of Counts 10-12 it is one of 10 years’ imprisonment.

With the exception of Counts 10 & 11 the equivalent offences today attract significantly higher maximum sentences. For example on Count 1 the equivalent offence today is sexual assault of a child which carries a maximum of 14 years’ imprisonment and would be likely to involve a starting point of around one year’s imprisonment. On Counts 3,4,5,7,9&12 the equivalent offence today is assault by penetration which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and would be likely, to involve a starting point (given the severity of the psychological damage to ‘C’) of around 8 years’ imprisonment on Counts 3,4,5,7, & 9 and a starting point of around 4 years’ imprisonment on Count 12 On your behalf I am asked to take into account a number of matters in mitigation, including the following:

(1) With the exception of ‘C’ the offences were brief and opportunistic.

(2) The fact that you have no previous convictions and have led an upright life since 1994 – albeit it is accepted that that must be tempered by the reality, underlined in the Attorney General’s Reference (above), that you got away with your offending for years.

(3) The fact that you have a good side, that there are many people who know you who speak well of you, and that over many years you have dedicated yourself to a number of charitable causes.

(4) The fact that you are not in the best of health, as attested to in the report of Dr Fertleman, and that therefore, although capable of serving a prison sentence, it will be particularly tough on you.

(5) The fact that your wife, who you help in looking after, has various health problems, as attested to in the report of Dr Mitchell-Fox.

(6) That you should be enabled to spend your twilight years with your family.

I have no doubt, despite your age and the other matters relied upon in mitigation on your behalf, that given the seriousness of the offences and particularly those in relation to ‘C’) and the extent of the aggravating features that I have identified only an immediate custodial sentence is appropriate for each. Sensibly, no argument to the contrary has been put forward on your behalf. Some of the sentences will be consecutive – in passing them I bear firmly in mind the principle of totality and have reduced a number of the sentences that I would otherwise have passed accordingly.

The sentences that I impose are as follows:

  • Count 1: 9 months’ imprisonment.
  • Count 2: 6 months’ imprisonment consecutive.
  • Count 3: 15 months’ imprisonment consecutive
  • Count 4: 15 months’ imprisonment concurrent
  • Count 5: 15 months’ imprisonment concurrent
  • Count 6: 12 months imprisonment concurrent
  • Count 7: 15 months’ imprisonment consecutive
  • Count 8: 12 months’ imprisonment concurrent
  • Count 9: 12 months’ imprisonment consecutive
  • Count 10: 9 months’ imprisonment concurrent
  • Count 11 9 months imprisonment concurrent.
  • Count 12 12 months’ imprisonment consecutive

The total sentence is therefore one of 5 years and nine months’ imprisonment.Unless released earlier, you will serve half that sentence when you will be released on licence for the remainder of the sentence. Should you breach the terms of that licence, including by the commission of further offences, you will be liable to recall.

Your convictions mean that you are automatically subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and you will also be considered under the provisions of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.

In my view it is not appropriate for me to make any awards of compensation. The issues involved are too complex and the information before me insufficient for me to be able to properly do so.

You will however pay the costs of the prosecution in such sum as may be agreed or assessed in due course.

I order that a copy of the medical report from Dr Fertleman be provided to the Prison Service for their information.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Rolf Harris-FOUND GUILTY-Sentenced to 5yrs 9 months

Rolf Harris jailed for more than five years for indecently assaulting young girls

Australian-born TV presenter guilty of seven assaults against daughter’s childhood friend and of groping an eight-year-old

theguardian.com, Friday 4 July 2014 13.19 BST

Rolf Harris

Rolf Harris arrives at court. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Rolf Harris has been jailed for carrying out a series of indecent assaults on young women and girls, including an eight-year-old autograph hunter and the 13-year-old friend of his daughter.

The judge, Mr Justice Sweeney, sentenced the 84-year-old entertainer to a total of five years and nine months in prison on 12 counts of indecent assault. Some of the sentences are to be served consecutively and others concurrently.

A jury at Southwark crown court on Monday unanimously found Harris guilty on the 12 charges of indecent assault, including seven against the childhood friend of his daughter, beginning when the girl was aged 13 and on holiday. The court heard that Harris continued a sexual liaison with the woman, 35 years his junior, until her late 20s.

Before a packed courtroom on Friday, Sweeney said to Harris: “You showed no remorse. You took advantage of the trust placed in you through celebrity status … You clearly got a thrill from committing offences while others were nearby. You have shown no remorse at all.

“Your reputation lies in ruins [and] you have nobody to blame but yourself.”

Rolf Harris leaving his home for sentencing by boat

Rolf Harris leaves his home for court by boat. Photograph: Sky TV

As the judge spoke, Harris and his family listened in expressionless silence.

Before sentencing, Harris listened impassively as victim impact statements were read out to the court. The former friend of his daughter, Bindi, said the abuse he inflicted had made her drink, wrecked her career and given her panic attacks.

“The attacks that happened have made me feel dirty, grubby and disgusting. The whole sordid saga has traumatised me,” the statement said. “As a young girl I had aspirations to have a career, settle down and have a family. However, as a direct result of his actions, this has never materialised. The knowledge of what he had done to me haunted me. However, his popularity with the British public made it harder for me to deal with.”

The woman said she had been convinced nobody would believe her. “My loved ones couldn’t understand why I drank so much until I told them what Rolf had done to me for so long.”

Another victim, who was assaulted by Harris when she visited England as a teenager, said the incident was a turning point in her life from which she had never recovered.

“I have never felt safe since, I live in a constant state of anxiety,” she said. “What Mr Harris took from me was my very essence, I believe that it was for Mr Harris a forgettable moment but it was something for me I will never move on from. I know the person I am today is not the person I should have been.”

A third victim, who was indecently assaulted by Harris as she sought his autograph at a community centre when she was seven or eight, said the incident had taken away her childhood. “I became an angry child, unable to express myself and unable to trust men,” she said.

Speaking of this victim, the judge told Harris he had taken away her childhood.

Sweeney also said he had no doubt Harris “fancied” the friend of his daughter, Bindi, and it was Harris’s crimes that made the victim as she was. Harris had caused her “severe psychological harm”.

The defence counsel Sonia Woodley QC said in mitigation that apart from the assaults against his daughter’s friend, Harris’s crimes were brief and “opportunistic, not predatory”. For the last 20 years he had led an “upright life”, and he had been patron of 16 charities, she said.

Since his arrest in 2012 Harris had been “a prisoner in his own home” due to the media frenzy, Woodley said. He was now 84 and “living on borrowed time”, and the prison term should reflect this.

As well as the four victims whose evidence formed the charges, the trial heard evidence from six more alleged victims as “bad character” witnesses. Seven more alleged victims did not give their evidence for legal reasons.

During and since the court case several other women have come forward to make allegations against Harris, with the police and the NSPCC charity saying they have received a number of calls.

The prosecution barrister Sasha Wass QC told the court on Friday that Harris had also been charged with four counts of viewing indecent images, which were to have been tried separately, but the Crown Prosecution Service would not pursue those charges in light of Monday’s guilty verdicts.

Harris was one of the best-loved and enduring entertainers of his era, with a TV career dating back 60 years and a reputation for his good rapport with children. He now faces the possibility of losing much of his £11m fortune after some victims contacted a law firm specialising in civil compensation claims over sexual abuse.

Since the verdict, Harris’s home town in Western Australia, Bassendean, has begun to shed its association with the entertainer, stripping him of honours and making plans to remove a plaque outside his childhood home.

The convicted paedophile travelled to the court by boat along the River Thames from his home in Bray, Berkshire, reportedly to avoid media who had gathered outside his house.

The 84-year-old, who has been told to expect jail time, was carrying a small suitcase as he entered the dock.

After hearing submission from the prosecution and defence, Justice Nigel Sweeney called a recess so that he could consider the sentence.

 

UPDATE JULY 1st 2014 HARRIS FOUND GUILTY

 

The sentencing hearing has now resumed.

Earlier this week Harris was found guilty of indecently assaulting four girls between 1968 and 1986.

Jurors unanimously delivered a guilty verdict on all 12 counts of indecent assault, after a trial that lasted more than six weeks.

Each count carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail.

In victim impact statements tendered to the court today, one victim said Harris’s actions had made her feel “dirty, grubby and disgusting”.

But the defence said there was no evidence Harris had offended in recent years, saying at 84 he was “living on borrowed time” and his prime concern was for his wife’s health.

Since the trial began, and even since the verdicts were handed down, more women have come forward saying they were also assaulted by Harris. Police have confirmed they are looking into fresh allegations.

Earlier today a New Zealand MP said Harris assaulted her in the 1980s.

Maggie Barry, a former high-profile broadcaster and now member of the National Party-led government, said she was in her 20s and working in a regional radio station when Harris groped her.

“He suddenly started with the wandering hands and groping and when he put his hand on my leg, I said ‘You can stop that right now’,” she said.

“I stood up and said ‘You’re a sleazy creep’, at which point he got a bit nasty,” she said.

She said Harris was “pretty confident and arrogant” throughout the “chilling experience”.

Rolf Harris found guilty of 12 counts of indecent assault against four girls by London jury

Updated 41 minutes ago

Rolf Harris has been found guilty of indecently assaulting four girls in the UK between 1968 and 1986.

The jury took eight days to deliver unanimous verdicts on all 12 charges of indecent assault in London.

The 84-year-old has been granted bail until his sentencing on Friday, but has been told to expect a custodial sentence.

Each count carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail.

Harris listened impassively – with the aid of a hearing loop – as the verdicts were read out.

Only after the final guilty verdict was read out and the jurors had left the court did Harris finally stand.

He sipped from a plastic cup and then left the dock.

He went into a small room at Southwark Crown Court with his legal team before being joined by his wife Alwen and daughter Bindi, who had broken down in tears after the verdicts and was consoled by Harris’s long-time agent Jan Kennedy.

Judge tells Harris to expect time behind bars

Justice Nigel Sweeney made it clear Harris could expect to be sent to jail later this week.

“Given the conviction on all 12 counts, it’s inevitable that the type of sentence uppermost in the court’s mind is a custodial sentence,” the judge said.

Justice Sweeney thanked the jurors for their service and said they had conducted themselves in an exemplary fashion with scrupulous attention to their duties.

Harris’s legal team have 28 days to lodge an appeal on his behalf.

Chief Inspector Michael Orchard from Scotland Yard said the case proved that no celebrity was above the law.

“Rolf Harris habitually denied any wrongdoing, forcing his victims to recount their ordeal in public,” he said.

“He committed many offences in plain sight of people as he thought his celebrity status placed him above the law.

“I want to thank the women who came forward for their bravery. I hope the guilty verdict will give them closure and help them to begin to move on with their lives.

“The case and verdict once again shows we will always listen to and investigate allegations regardless of the timeframe of those involved.”

Jenny Hopkins from the Crown Prosecution Service said the verdicts sent a strong message.

“Whenever there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest, we will work with police and victims to bring strong cases which can be put before a court,” she said.

“I hope today’s verdict provides other victims with the courage and confidence to come forward, no matter who is alleged to have carried out the abuse and when.”

Talking on AM this morning, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he felt “gutted and dismayed” by the verdicts.

“Sexual abuse is an utterly abhorrent crime … it’s just sad and tragic that this person, who was widely admired, seems to have been a perpetrator,” he said.

“It’s very important that we do everything we humanly can do to protect vulnerable young people.”

No comment from Harris family

A spokesman for the Harris family said no-one, including the star’s lawyers, agents or friends, would be making “any public comments or be available for interview either here or in Australia”.

Rolf Harris convicted

“The Harris family has also asked that their privacy be respected at this time,” the spokesman said in a statement.

In addition to the four complainants in the trial, another six women gave supporting evidence that the artist and entertainer had abused them in Australia, New Zealand and Malta between 1969 and 1991.

Harris denied inappropriately touching any of the alleged victims and pleaded not guilty in court. “They are all making it up,” he told the jury in late May.

During the case, prosecutor Sasha Wass QC said none of Harris’s accusers knew each other but their accounts bore “striking similarities”.

She described Harris as a “sinister pervert” who used his fame to mesmerise his victims, treating “underage girls as sexual objects” to be “groped and mauled”.

Harris was arrested in March last year on suspicion of sexual offences as part of Operation Yewtree, which was set up following revelations about the late BBC presenter Jimmy Savile.

Main accuser was daughter Bindi’s childhood friend

The main accuser was a woman, now 49, who met Harris as a childhood friend of his daughter Bindi.

Harris admitted he had a 10-year-affair with the accuser but said it did not start until she was 18 and the relationship was consensual.

However, she told the court the entertainer began indecently assaulting her at age 13, when she joined the Harris family on an overseas holiday in 1978.

The woman told the court she was taking a shower at their Hawaii hotel and was wrapped only in a towel when Harris gave her “one of his big hugs and tickles”.

She said the performer then put his fingers into her crotch area.

The woman said she felt “numb” and disgusted after the abuse happened.

When she was 15, she said Harris sexually assaulted her in her bedroom, before laughing and joking with her parents downstairs.

The woman said she was too scared and intimidated by Harris’s fame to tell anyone.

After years of sexual abuse the victim was “emotionally dead”, the prosecutor said.

“She was targeted, groomed and dehumanised over a period of 16 years,” Ms Wass said.

In court, Harris admitted he admired the bikini worn by the teenager on the Hawaii trip but denied indecently assaulting her.

His daughter Bindi told the court she was with her friend “every single moment of every single day” on the holiday and had not noticed any change in her behaviour.

However, during the trial Bindi wept as she described the moment she later discovered her father’s sexual relationship with her friend.

The prosecutor said key evidence was a letter Rolf Harris wrote to the alleged victim’s father in 1997.

It was effectively a confession of child abuse, the prosecutor alleged, and was a calculated attempt to avoid the police being informed.

The defence said the letter was consistent with Harris’s claim of a 10-year affair.

“I fondly imagined that everything that had taken place had progressed from a feeling of love and friendship,” Rolf Harris wrote in the letter.

“There was no rape, no physical forcing, brutality or beating that took place.”

Harris told the court the woman had contacted him in 1994 and had demanded 25,000 pounds ($45,000).

When he refused to pay, she threatened that her brother would go to newspapers, the court was told.

The alleged victim took her allegations to UK police in November 2012.

Harris accused of groping other children

A second witness told the court she was 13 or 14 when Rolf Harris groped her buttocks at a celebrity event in Cambridge.

Harris initially denied being in the city at that time. However, he later admitted he had been there after TV footage was dramatically uncovered mid-trial of him taking part in a 1978 episode of Star Games in Cambridge.

A third witness said she was only seven or eight years old when the entertainer assaulted her in Portsmouth after she had asked him for an autograph.

She said the entertainer put his hand down her back and between her legs. He then did it a second time, she told the jury.

Harris’s defence counsel suggested the entertainer had never been to the community centre in question and must have confused him with another man.

Another witness against Harris was an Australian woman who said the entertainer assaulted her at the home of family friends in Darwin when she was 11 or 12 years old in the late 1960s.

The woman said she froze as Harris approached her, put his arms around her and gave her a tongue kiss.

A New Zealand woman told the court Harris had a “dark and evil side” and indecently assaulted her when she was dancing with him when she was 17 years old.

The witness said she told her mother soon afterwards about what Harris did.

“I sat down and told her what a disgusting, vile, repulsive man that he was, and how he had totally taken away trust,” she said.

The court also heard evidence from an Australian make-up artist who says Harris groped her at Channel 7 in the mid-1980s when she was 24.

She said the entertainer was known as “the octopus” because of his roaming hands.

Former Australian actor Tony Porter told the court he witnessed Harris groping a different make-up artist in the mid-1980s.

Another Australian witness Tonya Lee asserted that Harris had indecently assaulted her twice in an English pub during a theatre trip to the UK in 1986.

The defence argued Harris was “a natural hugger and that left him open to false accusations”.

Defence admits Harris ‘far from perfect’

Defence barrister Simon Ray said the entertainer was “far from perfect” given he had admitted having two extramarital affairs, but insisted that did not make him guilty of the indecent assault charges.

He asserted the delay of up to 45 years between the alleged assaults and when they were reported to police caused issues for Harris in trying to rebut the claims.

“It’s much easier to make allegations like this than it is to rebut them,” Mr Ray said, adding that if Harris failed to remember something he was accused of deliberate lies and if he did recall details they were dismissed.

Mr Ray also criticised many of the six women who gave supporting evidence that Harris harassed them in Australia, New Zealand and Malta.

He pointed out that some had kept photographs of themselves with the star.

In one case a mother, who claimed Harris assaulted her daughter and then herself, subsequently put a cartoon the artist had drawn on her daughter’s bedroom door.

What mother would do that if she had just been sexually abused, Mr Ray asked the jury.

The lawyer said Harris was of good character with no criminal convictions but that the prosecution had set about destroying his reputation “with vigour and enthusiasm”.

He said the trial had occurred with the whole world watching, so Harris had already been punished for his infidelity whether he was found guilty or innocent.

“He has been punished for his infidelity by, effectively, public humiliation,” Mr Ray said.

The letter he wrote should disgust anyone who reads it as he tries to cover his own ass.

Click below read full size letter

Harris confessed in letter to victim's father, court told

Harris confessed in letter to victim’s father, court told

update 10/05/14

Rolf Harris trial: Prosecution alleges entertainer had ‘dark side’ that preyed on girls

The 84-year-old is facing 12 counts of indecently assaulting four girls between the late 1960s and mid 1980s, the youngest of whom was aged seven or eight at the time of the alleged offence.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Prosecutor Sasha Wass QC told the opening day of the trial that Harris was an immensely talented man with a glittering career, who exploited his fame to commit the assaults.

She said he used his fame to access girls and young women, confident they would not tell anyone what he had done because of his status.

Rolf Harris arrives at court with his daughter Bindi and wife Alwen Hughes.

Rolf Harris arrives at court with his daughter Bindi and wife Alwen Hughes.

Ms Wass said Harris had a “dark side” that was sexually attracted to girls, and that he groomed one of his victims “like a pet”.

The jury of six men and six women was also told Harris slobbered around the neck of another girl and ran his hands down a third victim inappropriately in separate incidents.

Ms Wass said Harris was a Jekyll and Hyde figure, whose “dark side” was not known to colleagues and companions for decades.

He developed a consistent approach in gaining the trust of his young victims before abusing them, the jury heard.

“You will see a pattern during the case of Mr Harris approaching girls in a purely friendly way and then once he is in close physical contact with them, taking advantage of the situation in order to indecently assault them,” she said.

Harris confessed in letter to victim’s father, court told

The prosecution has revealed that the main complainant – seven of the 12 counts deal with her allegations – was a childhood friend of Harris’s daughter, Bindi.

The woman says she was first abused as a 13-year-old when she was on a holiday with the Harris family in Hawaii and Australia.

The prosecution says that by the time she was an adult Harris had total control over her and the abuse continued until she was in her late 20s.

The jury was told Harris does not deny that he had a sexual relationship with the woman, but says it began when she was 18.

The court heard Harris wrote a letter of confession to the woman’s father in which he admitted that he had a sexual relationship with the woman.

“I fondly imagined that everything that had taken place had progressed from a feeling of love and friendship,” the jury heard Harris wrote in the letter.

“There was no rape, no physical forcing, brutality or beating that took place.”

His status meant the woman did not talk about the incident until 1996. But in 1994, the court heard, Harris says he was contacted by the woman who demanded 25,000 pounds ($45,000).

When he refused, she threatened that her brother would go to newspapers over what Harris assumed were details of the affair, the court was told.

Harris alleged to have abused girls in several countries

Ms Wass said Harris abused his victims in numerous locations such as Hawaii and Australia, but many incidents took place before a law change in Britain meant offences allegedly committed abroad could be tried in the UK.

A number of other witnesses set to be called by the prosecution will allege they were also abused by Harris while he was on visits to Australia and New Zealand.

They include a woman who says Harris assaulted her while she was working as a make-up artist at Channel Seven.

The jury heard that she would say Harris was known as “The Octopus” because of his reputation for groping young women, a comment the jury was later told to disregard.

The prosecution says without knowing each other, the complainants and witnesses have related similar accounts of the type of abuse and the way in which it happened – often in a brazen and sudden manner.

Ms Wass told the jury they should not dismiss any of the claims because they related to historic incidents.

She said the consequences of sexual abuse could be life-changing and current, and she said when the jury hears them describe what Harris did to them “you may think those victims deserve to have a voice”.

The court was told that two of the girls became alcoholics because of the abuse.

The first prosecution witness in what is expected to be a six-week trial is due to take the stand on Monday.

The white-bearded, bespectacled entertainer was accompanied at the Southwark Crown Court in London by Bindi and his wife, Alwen Hughes.

Harris is the biggest name to go on trial since British police launched a major investigation after revelations that the late BBC TV host Jimmy Savile was a prolific child sex abuser, leading to the arrest of more than a dozen ageing celebrities.

Harris is known by millions in Britain and Australia for pop chart hits such as Two Little Boys and Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport.

A keen artist, Harris painted Queen Elizabeth’s portrait in 2005, and was honoured by her for his services to entertainment and charity and performed at her 2012 Diamond Jubilee concert.

To be successful in these cases is to have independent corroborating evidence, and I reckon Rolf Harris knows he is gone (oh yeah I did have an affair with that girl but ONLY after she was 18 etc) Bad news for him is the girls he molested back then are now mums themselves and taking a stance. The suppression of evidence needs to end, it is 2014 not 1814.