Rolf Harris jailed for indecent assaults

Published Friday, 04 July 2014
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Rolf Harris has been jailed for five years and nine months for a string of indecent assaults.

Rolf Harris jailed for indecent assaults
Rolf Harris arrives at court to be sentenced on Friday. (© Getty)

The entertainer, 84, was unanimously convicted for 12 indecent assaults involving four girls on Monday.

The accusations dated back to between 1968 and 1986, and the girls were targeted between the ages of seven or eight and 19.

At London's Southwark Crown Court on Friday, Mr Justice Sweeney told the performer he "had shown no remorse" and his "reputation was now in ruins".

Passing sentence in a packed courtroom, the judge told Harris: "For well over 50 years you have been a popular entertainer and TV 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 indecent assaults on four victims who were variously aged between eight 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 the victims.

"In every case the age gap between you and the victim was a very considerable one. You clearly got a thrill from committing the offences while others were present or nearby. Whilst others did not realise what you were doing their presence added to the ordeal of your victims."

You took advantage of the trust placed in you because of your celebrity status.

Mr Justice Sweeney

Mr Justice Sweeney told the entertainer: "Rolf Harris, the sentence I pass upon you in total is one of five 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 your sentence.

"Should you break the terms of that licence, including by commission of further offences, you will be liable to recall."

The judge told the court he did not feel it was appropriate to order Harris to pay compensation to his victims, but said: "You will, however, pay the costs of the prosecution in such sum as may be agreed or assessed in due course."

Peter Watt, director of national services at the NSPCC, said: "Harris was opportunistic and brazen in targeting young girls and women. He took advantage of their trust in him and we heard through the evidence of his courageous victims just how profoundly damaging his abuse was on them for decades after.

"This sentence reflects the seriousness of his crimes and hopefully those he preyed upon can finally find some peace. It sends a message that no one is untouchable and justice can come at any time.

"Harris has not shown any remorse for what he has done and treated the whole court case like just another performance."

Thankfully the jury saw through this charade and he will now have a considerable amount of time to reflect on the impact of his crimes.

Peter Watt, director of national services at the NSPCC

Speaking outside court, a representative of the youngest victim, who was abused at the age of eight by Harris as she got his autograph near Portsmouth, said: "(She) had only eight years of her life without this incident going round in her head and that was her first eight years.

"After these cameras have been dismantled and the media circus has rolled on to another town it will still be with her as it will be with the other girls.

Harris's jail term has already been referred to the Attorney General for being "unduly lenient" after concerns were raised by a small number of members of the public.

Dominic Grieve now has 28 days to decide whether any action should be taken.

Meanwhile police have said Harris will face no further action over indecent images.

The trial has been told there were four outstanding charges of making indecent images which were severed or separated from his trial for indecent assault.

The images were found on Harris's computer when his home was searched. His lawyer argued they were not deliberately downloaded and had got there by a mistake.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
2 Comments
lowlife in belfast wrote (141 days ago):
this lowlife should have got more jail time for what he did to these poor kids, he abused a position of trust.
Fred Powell in Limavady wrote (142 days ago):
Rolf Harris should have got a lot longer Sentence !
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