Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Disgraced Rolf Harris to appeal sexual abuse convictions

Disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris
Disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris

Disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris has applied for permission to appeal against his convictions for a string of indecent assaults.

A spokesman for the Judicial Office confirmed that lawyers for the 84-year-old had lodged papers at the Court of Appeal this week.

The artist and musician was convicted of 12 indecent assaults on June 30 at Southwark Crown Court – one on an eight-year-old autograph hunter, two on girls in their early teens and a catalogue of abuse of his daughter's friend over 16 years.

The court will now consider whether to grant permission for him to continue with his appeal bid.

Harris, a family favourite for decades, was finally unmasked as a predator who was fixated with under-age girls during his trial.

Jurors were told how his 16-year campaign of sex abuse against his daughter's friend "haunted" her and made her abandon her dreams as he continued to be adored by millions of fans worldwide.

His fall from grace was underlined as he was stripped of a Bafta fellowship and accolades in his native Australia were removed.

He faces losing his prestigious CBE.

The performer's multi-million pound fortune is also at risk from potential compensation claims.

Harris was an acclaimed family favourite over decades and was an accomplished painter, but also made his name with records and general entertainment.

His last high-profile television roles were fronting a number of animal rescue programmes.

Harris was jailed for five years and nine months for the sex abuse.

This means that he is due to serve just under three years for the crimes, which spanned between 1968 and 1986.

Earlier this week the Attorney General's office confirmed that the sentence would not be referred to the Court of Appeal for being unduly lenient despite dozens of complaints.

Attorney General Jeremy Wright decided not to take action despite his office receiving 150 complaints about the leniency of Harris's sentence, of which he will serve half.

It only takes one complaint for the review process to be triggered.

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