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Rolf Harris will not give trial evidence, defence lawyer says

  • 23 May 2017
Rolf Harris court sketchRolf Harris listened to proceedings in court via a hearing loop

Rolf Harris will not give evidence in his defence at his indecent assault trial, his lawyer has told the court.

Defence barrister Stephen Vullo made the announcement to the jury at Southwark Crown Court in London.

The entertainer denies four charges relating to alleged assaults on three teenage girls between 1971 and 1983.

Mr Harris, 87, was released from prison on Friday and is now appearing in the dock in person, having appeared via a video link in the trial’s first week.

Kenneth Jeacle, Mr Harris’s former tour manager, told the court via video link from Australia he had seen parents encourage their children to “perhaps sit on his knee or perhaps give him a kiss on the cheek”.

But he said that Mr Harris was never the “instigator” of such behaviour.

Mr Jeacle, who worked with the defendant from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, said: “Mr Harris’s attitude in these incidents was always that people would approach him.

“He would then perhaps open his arms and embrace them but in, shall I say, a fraternal or brotherly style or manner.”

Saturday Superstore

Mr Vullo asked him whether he had ever seen Harris act inappropriately with his fans, and Mr Jeacle replied: “Categorically, never.

“Mr Harris was, in my presence, constantly respectful of children and parents alike.”

Mr Harris is accused of groping a 14-year-old girl during a music event at the Lyceum Theatre in London in 1971.

Two further charges relate to alleged indecent assaults on a teenager in 1978, during filming for ITV celebrity show Star Games.

The fourth relates to a 13-year-old girl who claims he touched her breast after filming BBC children’s TV programme Saturday Superstore in 1983.

Second defence lawyer David Patience read to the jury statements from people who attended the events.

They included those who denied seeing or hearing anybody upset or anything of concern taking place.

One was from ex-EastEnders and Coronation Street actress Rula Lenska, who was at Star Games.

She said: “I can say, hand on heart, I never witnessed anything untoward or suspicious.”

Another woman, who was five when she attended the It’s a Knockout-style event in 1978, said the “incredibly sweet” Mr Harris sat down next to her on a bench and gave her a cartoon.

Statements from two boys who attended the filming of Saturday Superstore recalled him being a “very nice fella” and a “perfect gentleman” respectively.

The trial continues.