Harris denies 'deliberate lie'

Published Monday, 02 June 2014
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Jurors in the trial of veteran entertainer Rolf Harris have been shown footage of a TV game show starring the artist in Cambridge in the 1970s - despite the star telling them he had never been to the city until three or four years ago.

Harris denies 'deliberate lie'
Rolf Harris denies all charges. (© Getty)

The jury at London's Southwark Crown Court was shown clips from an episode of a show called Star Games, filmed in 1978 in Cambridge, in which Harris competed.

Admitting that it was him in the programme, Harris denied deliberately lying, saying he had forgotten about the show, and did not actually know he was in Cambridge at the time.

Harris, 84, faces 12 counts of indecent assault against four alleged victims between 1968 and 1986.

One of his alleged victims, then aged 14, claims he groped her outside what she thought was a celebrity It's a Knock Out event in Cambridge, describing him acting up for a crowd by barking at a dog before he grabbed her. She believed the date to be around 1975.

The court previously heard there was no independent evidence to put Harris in Cambridge in 1975, and the artist told the court he could not have committed the offence as he had not been to the city until a few years ago.

But today the court heard that new evidence had emerged in the form of video footage of the 1978 Thames Television programme Star Games, filmed at Jesus Green in Cambridge, in which Harris took part as a team captain and also competed in a swimming race.

The jury of six men and six women was shown the beginning of the hour-long show, introduced by Michael Aspel as being in Cambridge, and describing Harris as a team captain.

Prosecutor Sasha Wass QC put to Harris that the event was the one that the alleged victim had described.

She said: "That video supports pretty much everything that (the alleged victim) said apart from the year, she has got the year wrong?"

He replied: "By three years, yes, she is out by three years."

Ms Wass said: "But when you told the jury with such confidence last week on Tuesday that you had never been to Cambridge until four years ago, that was a deliberate lie, wasn't it?"

He replied: "No, it wasn't. I didn't find out that it was in Cambridge until I saw the video played back and then at the very opening the voiceover introduced it over what I remember was a helicopter shot of the field.

"That was the first time I had heard the word Cambridge."

The veteran told jurors: "I had no idea. I don't think any of us knew."

Putting it to Harris that he had suggested that the alleged victim lied, Ms Wass said: "I'm going to suggest that you are the one that has lied and that demonstrates it, and that there is no way you could have forgotten that event and you deliberately tried to mislead the jury when you told them that you had not been to Cambridge until four years ago."

Harris said: "I had forgotten that event until I saw that video"

He said he had not deliberately lied, but it was a "lapse of memory".

Ms Wass went on to put other allegations to Harris, including from a woman who claimed she was groped repeatedly by Harris while she was working as a television make-up artist in the 1980s.

The star denied her claims, and added that it was unlikely she would have been applying powder to him because he was allergic to it.

He also dismissed claims by a mother and daughter who said he first assaulted the girl, then later rubbed himself against her mother, during an event at a small hardware shop in Australia.

Harris said he did not remember the mother stamping on his foot and telling him he was a "disgusting creature".

Ms Wass said that while Harris claimed his alleged victims were all making up their claims, the new evidence of the film showed that he had lied.

She said: "That film footage which has come to light very late in the day... will demonstrate that it is not these victims who have lied, it's you who have lied. And you hoped to get away with that lie when it came to (the alleged victim who claimed she was assaulted in Cambridge)."

Harris said: " I didn't realise it was a lie, I had no recollection of being in Cambridge until I saw that video."

Asked by his own barrister, Sonia Woodley QC, if he deliberately lied or misled the court, Harris said: "Well, it wasn't a deliberate lie. As far as I remembered I had never been to Cambridge and, until I saw that opening couple of frames of that programme, I had no idea that programme was done in Cambridge."

Later Harris's daughter Bindi Nicholls, 50, told the court that she and one of her father's alleged victims were best friends and she "loved her to bits".

Mrs Nicholls, said she was filled with joy when her friend went on holiday with her, and described how they "literally were stuck together like glue".

The court has heard that the first alleged victim - to whom seven of the counts relate - claims she was first assaulted by Harris in her hotel room during that holiday.

Mrs Nicholls told the court that the only way someone could have got into the hotel room she shared with the girl was if they had allowed them.

Of a claim the girl has made that Harris groped her as he wrapped a towel around her on the beach, the star's daughter told jurors that him wrapping a towel around her friend would be "odd".

"You put towels round people who are little when they come out of the water.

"It would be strange, really odd, my dad wouldn't do that anyway. I can't see that happening, not at all."

She said her friend was "incredibly independent" and there was "no way" anyone would dry her down.

She told the court: "My dad doesn't like going on the beach anyway, so I can't imagine him even being on the beach. He hates sunbathing."

Mrs Nicholls broke down as she described the "utter shock" of discovering her father had an affair with her friend.

She said her friend revealed to her that she had a consensual affair with her father from the age of 18 or 19.

But she said the alleged victim never told her that her first sexual encounter with Harris was when she was 13, and also dismissed claims that Harris sexually assaulted her friend while she slept in the same room as "sort of laughable" and "ridiculous".

The trial continues.

© UTV News
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1 Comments
bee in newtownabbey wrote (143 days ago):
Says it all really hes never been in cambridge when he was recorded on itv very very strange think we would all remember what towns we visted not unless he was blindfolded.
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