News World Rolf Harris appears in court over seven sexual assault charges from seven women

Rolf Harris appears in court over seven sexual assault charges from seven women

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Harris appeared in court via videolink from Stafford Prison in the UK. Photo: Getty
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The prosecution has delivered its opening address in the second indecent assault trial involving Australian entertainer Rolf Harris.

The 86-year-old is facing seven charges of sexual assault made by seven separate women.

The alleged offences are said to have taken place between 1971 and 2004 and relate to girls and women who were aged between 12 and 42 at the time.

Harris, who was aged between 41 and 74 at the time of the allegations, is pleading not guilty to all charges.

Appearing for the prosecution, Jonathan Rees, QC, said: “One notable feature of the case is that none of these assaults is alleged to have happened in private; all appear to have occurred in public settings when there were other people in the near vicinity.”

Mr Rees asked the jury of seven women and five men to consider whether it was “Mr Harris’ celebrity status” which made him act so brazenly in committing the alleged offences.

The prosecution outlined the allegations from the women, including claims that two girls aged 12 and 14 were, on separate occasions, sexually assaulted in public while seeking autographs.

In another allegation before the court, a blind and disabled woman who was in her mid 20s at the time, said Harris sexually assaulted her at a hospital for an estimated ten minutes, despite her attempts to push herself away from him.

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A court sketch of Rolf Harris from the hearing. Photo: ABC/Supplied

Mr Rees told the court the defence is likely to assert that the claimant has fabricated the allegations, and call a key witness who does not recall the events despite being in the room at the time.

Harris appeared in court via videolink from Stafford prison where he is serving a sentence of five years and nine months handed down in July 2014 for previous convictions.

The seven women, whose allegations fall into the “broad category” of what the prosecution described as “unwanted groping”, came forward to British authorities in the wake of the publicity surrounding Harris’s first trial.


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