Tuesday 20 August 2019

Rolf Harris to find out if he has won latest appeal against indecent assault convictions

Rolf Harris Picture: Getty
Rolf Harris Picture: Getty

Cathy Gordon

Disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris will find out if he has won the latest round of a battle to clear his name.

Harris, 87, from Bray, Berkshire, has made a fresh bid to challenge "unsafe" indecent assault convictions.

His renewed application for permission to appeal has been considered by three leading judges in London.

Lord Justice Treacy, Mrs Justice McGowan and the Recorder of Preston, Judge Mark Brown, will announce their decision on Thursday.

Recent proceedings at the Court of Appeal relate to convictions in 2014.

The judges heard submissions on behalf of Harris and from the prosecution, which opposed the challenge.

The artist and musician was convicted of 12 indecent assaults at London's Southwark Crown Court in June 2014, one on an eight-year-old autograph hunter, two on girls in their early teens, and a catalogue of abuse against his daughter's friend over 16 years.

Harris, a family favourite for decades, was jailed for five years and nine months after being convicted of assaults which took place between 1968 and 1986.

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Rolf Harris appearing by video link at Southwark Crown Court in London. Photo: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Rolf Harris appearing by video link at Southwark Crown Court in London. Photo: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire

The Australian-born television presenter has since been released from that sentence.

Stephen Vullo QC, for Harris, presented four grounds of appeal during the hearing before the three judges, which Harris attended.

One ground is that there is "fresh" evidence which supports Harris's case, and complaint is also made about a direction given to the jury by the trial judge relating to the credibility of complainants.

At the end of the Court of Appeal hearing, Lord Justice Treacy said the application "requires careful consideration and assessment" before a ruling would be given.

In May this year Harris was formally cleared of unconnected historical sex offences, which he had denied.

He was formally cleared of four counts of indecent assault against girls as young as 13 after a retrial ended with a hung jury.

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