Monday, February 18, 2019 04:58:34 AM
Australian entertainer Rolf Harris has been found guilty by the jury on 12 charges in his indecent assault trial in London.
The panel of six men and six women, sitting at London's Southwark Crown Court, has been considering 12 counts of indecent assault.
Harris, 84, from Bray in Berkshire, is accused of assaults on four women between 1968 and 1986, all of which he denies.
As they returned to Southwark Crown Court on Monday morning, Justice Nigel Sweeney told them there was good news with Harris's senior lawyer, Sonia Woodley QC, back from illness.
"You will see Ms Woodley is restored to us," the judge said. Ms Woodley earlier apologised for being absent during the later stages of the eight-week trial.
The defence closing address was delivered in her absence a fortnight ago by junior counsel Simon Ray.
Justice Sweeney on Friday told the jury: "You are not, and must not, feel under any pressure of time or other extraneous pressure at all."
Harris is waiting for news at court supported by his wife, Alwen, daughter Bindi Nicholls, and a small group of other family and friends.
During his trial, which opened on May 9, prosecutors claimed that the entertainer was a "Jekyll and Hyde" character who had a dark side to his personality and used his fame to abuse under-age girls with impunity.
But his defence team told the jury that Harris's reputation had been "trashed" by a prosecution which did not reach the standard of criminal proof. The first alleged victim claims Harris groped her when she was seven or eight after she went to get his autograph at a community centre near Portsmouth between 1968 and 1970. She told the jury he aggressively assaulted her "out of nowhere" at the packed venue.
The second alleged victim claims Harris touched her bottom when she was waitressing at a celebrity event in Cambridge, either in 1975 or 1978.
She said she saw Harris "playing up to the crowd", crouched on all fours barking at a dog, before he groped her.
The third is a friend of Harris's daughter Bindi, who alleges that Harris abused her from the age of 13 for several years, starting while she was on holiday in Hawaii.
She claims that one assault took place when Bindi was asleep in the same room, and Harris appeared to get "a thrill" out of it. Seven of the 12 counts that Harris faces relate to the woman - four allege that he indecently assaulted her when she was 15; two relate to claims that he performed oral sex on her against her will before she was 16; and one relates to an occasion when he allegedly indecently assaulted her in a swimming pool when she was 19. The fourth alleged victim, Tonya Lee, who has waived her right to anonymity, said she was abused while on a tour of the UK with an Australian youth theatre group in 1986. The aspiring theatre star, then 15, said she "felt disgusting" after Harris groped her when he went for dinner with the group at a London pub.
He admits an adult consensual affair with Bindi's friend, but denies assaulting her or any of the other women. The jury began its deliberations on June 19.