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Rolf Harris freed from jail to attend sex trial in person

By Ryan Hooper

Rolf Harris has been released from prison.

The Australian former television star had been appearing via video-link at Southwark Crown Court in London, where he is standing trial accused of indecent assault.

Judge Deborah Taylor told the jury yesterday that the 87-year-old defendant would be released from Stafford Prison on Friday and he would therefore appear in court in person on bail for the remainder of the trial.

Jurors were previously told that Harris had already been convicted and sentenced for other offences in 2014.

The judge told the jurors: "He (Harris) will no longer be appearing in the court via video-link and he will be attending what remains of his trial in person next week."

The trial, which opened on May 15, will not sit on Friday.

Former Animal Hospital host Harris is standing trial accused of indecently assaulting three teenage girls in the 1970s and 1980s. He is also alleged to have touched a 13-year-old girl's breast after filming a children's TV programme and asked her: "Do you often get molested in a Saturday morning?"

He is separately accused of twice groping a third girl, aged 16, after being paid £100 to appear on ITV celebrity show Star Games in 1978, and telling her she was "a little bit irresistible", the court heard.

He denies four charges of indecent assault against three women between 1971 and 1983.

Giving evidence in court on the trial's fourth day, one alleged victim denied she had "fabricated" evidence against Harris.

She told the court: "I absolutely have not (fabricated evidence).

"One of the reasons perhaps it was easier for me to tell police is because I had told people over the years."

Another witness told the court she was "in shock" after Harris allegedly touched her right breast.

The alleged victim, a 13-year-old schoolgirl at the time, said she was in a green room with a group of other teenagers following the transmission of 1980s children's show Saturday Superstore, on which Harris was appearing.

She was at a table of refreshments to get a drink when Harris approached her and assaulted her, the court heard.

The witness, appearing via video-link, said the entertainer slid his right hand over her clothes and placed it on her right breast, asking her: "Do you often get molested on a Saturday morning?"

She told jurors: "I was in shock because I couldn't comprehend what had just happened.

"He left quite quickly and I just stood there for a while.

"I went to (tell someone) and I think I said 'something weird just happened' or 'you won't believe what just happened'.

"I did tell her what happened... she looked shocked - not at what happened but rather, 'that's Rolf Harris, don't be silly'."

She said: "Every time he came on the TV, I told people 'he's a pervert' or something along those lines."

The case was adjourned until Monday. Harris denies all charges.

Belfast Telegraph


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