News World Weekend wait for Harris verdict

Weekend wait for Harris verdict

Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

Jurors in the trial of Rolf Harris have been sent home for the weekend after asking the judge what happens if they are unable to reach unanimous verdicts.

The 12 jury members first retired on Thursday and continued their deliberations on Friday afternoon. So far they’ve been out for six hours in total.

They asked Justice Nigel Sweeney three questions on Friday including what steps they could take if they were unable to reach unanimous verdicts.

“At the moment the only verdict on each count I can accept from you is one upon which you are all agreed,” the judge said in reply.

However, Justice Sweeney noted that position could change, in which case he’d give “further directions”.

The jury also asked about police inquiries that were made to try and determine whether Harris was in Portsmouth in the late 1960s or early 1970s.

One of the four complainants in the case alleges Harris indecently assaulted her at a community centre in the area when she was seven or eight years old.

Jurors also asked about the possibility of watching again footage of Harris in a 1978 episode of Star Games which was filmed in Cambridge.

The performer initially denied being in the city – where another complainant alleges she was assaulted in the 1970s – until three or four years ago.

But he had to admit he had been there in 1978 when the Star Games footage was dramatically uncovered mid-trial.

The jury on Friday further asked about a home video of Harris’s main accuser shot in Australia around the time she alleges the entertainer first indecently assaulted her as a 13-year-old.

The 1978 film was seized from the Harris family home west of London in November 2012 a week before the star was first questioned by detectives from Operation Yewtree.

It shows the alleged victim – a childhood friend of Harris’s daughter Bindi – playing with others on inflated tubes on a river.

It also shows the complainant swimming in a pool in a bikini and standing outside a house.

Harris on Friday waited for news of any verdicts in Southwark Crown Court’s cafeteria.

He was supported by his wife, Alwen, their daughter and a small group of other family and friends.

Before sending them home for the weekend Justice Sweeney warned the jurors not to talk to anyone about the case. Instead he told them to enjoy the expected good weather.

The six men and six women will return to court on Monday morning to continue their deliberations.

Harris is charged with 12 counts of indecent assault against four girls in the UK between 1968 and 1986. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of two years’ jail.

Another six women have given supporting evidence that the artist abused them in Australia, New Zealand and Malta between 1969 and 1991.

Harris denies touching any of the women inappropriately. “They are all making it up,” he told the court in late May.